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SCARY BEAUTY: Japanese robot opera performs in the United arab emirates

The android conductor Alter 3, will conduct a human orchestra during a performance in Sharjha on January 31.

A humanoid robot with artificial intelligence is about to conduct a human orchestra in the lyrical performance Scary Beauty, which will perform for the first time in the Middle East on January 31.

The piece, conceived by the composer Keiichiro Shibuya, questions our relationship to technology, especially the dependency on our own technological inventions. To compose the music and write the lyrics, Shibuya drew inspiration from literature, in particular texts from the beatnik poet William S. Burroughs and the internationally renowned French novelist Michel Houellebecq.


Throughout the performance, the robot controls the musicians, the volume and the tempo. Alter 3 – that’s his name – adds electronic vocals to the performance, his singing accompanying the musicians. With his robot body, hands and face borrowed from humans, the android offers a strange vision, straight out of a science fiction movie.

An in-progress version of the opera was made in 2017 by a robot prototype. Then the android Alter 2 led the first one which took place in 2018, in Tokyo, during a conference devoted to artificial intelligence. This technological feat is due to the AI scientist and Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. For the latest version of the humanoid robot, Shibuya, the composer, worked with Warner Music Japan to develop the software that allows Alter 3 to perform its functions.

Scary Beauty will be performed as part of the Sharjapan exhibition Inter Organics Japanese Performance and Sounds Art at the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Published on 28 January 2020


#United Arab Emirates