The story follows the creation of an android, a birthday gift for a neurotic Princess who is sequestered by obsessively doting parents in a castle in the sky. The android’s inventor, while teaching it to speak and think, falls fatally in love with his own creation.
Librettist Klara Kofen co-wrote the piece with a neural network, reared on a database of Shakespeare sonnets and Indian Epics compiled by Dr Amita Kapoor, and trained by research scientist Janelle Shane (UC San Diego). This process inspired the musical material for ‘i’, for which composer James Oldham experimented with neural network learning processes, using the Melisma Stochastic Melody Generator and 1,000 love songs.
The opera includes singer-songwriters alongside opera singers, electronics and live ensemble, 3D animations, and costumes made entirely out of recycled materials.