Song of the Ambassadors

Neuroscience-based AI opera
"Song of the Ambassadors" is a collaborative opera conceived and written by K Allado-McDowell, scored by Derrick Skye and illuminated by multimedia artist Refik Anadol. It posits a future humanity in harmony with life and the cosmos.

Why you should listen

Fresh from its staging at Lincoln Center in October 2022, Song of the Ambassadors is less an operatic performance and more a healing ritual beamed in from a utopian future, where transhuman "ambassadors" reveal a human spirit in harmony with Earth and the universe. Conceived by artist K Allado-McDowell in collaboration with the language model GPT-3, the opera explores links between music and the mind via a score and libretto framed by constantly evolving imagery.

Song of the Ambassadors is an experimental immersion that fuses a traditional art form with artificial intelligence and neuroscience. The opera’s Al-generated imagery (orchestrated by artist Refik Anadol) engages the audience in hypnotic feedback loops as performers sing a meditative hymn to the Sun, space and life. The music, composed by Derrick Skye, is inspired by Ghanaian Ewe music, Persian classical, electronica and environmental sounds and it intertwines with the imagery and narrative to reveal how music and ritual feed the depths of the human spirit.

[Credits: Debi Wong, Solar ambassador; Laurel Semerdjian, Space ambassador; Edmond Rodriguez, Life ambassador; Derrick Skye, Composer and music director; Nina McNeely, Choreographer; K Allado-McDowell, Creator and librettist; Mary Birnbaum, Original stage director; Refik Anadol, Media designer; Oana Botez, Costume designer; Ian Smith, Technical supervisor; Ben Newman, Executive producer]

Song of the Ambassadors’ TED talk