Engagement in the appreciation of Cantonese opera through virtual reality (VR)


Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Immersive video is a form of virtual reality (VR) that the viewer has control of the viewing direction within a 360-degree environment. It is an emerging technology that has gradually been adopted in the entertainment industry, yet efforts in applying the technology in musical, cultural and educational contexts have been rare. Previous studies have revealed that the VR technology could stimulate learners’ motivation in particular school subjects, whether the same effect could be applicable for the transmission of artistry and the sustainability of traditional art forms were unknown. This presentation will showcase a project that approaches school students’ engagement in the appreciation of Cantonese opera through immersive experience with VR. A series of high-resolution Cantonese opera immersive videos containing both operatic singing and theatre works were produced, with the viewer’s point from the position of a first-row audience. It could create a new user experience to the audience, allowing them to reposition their visual and aural focus on individual parts or performers without physically present at the position. This allows students who never go to the theatre to have the similar experience attending a Cantonese opera performance. Students involved will be provided with VR headsets and headphones to view the Cantonese opera immersive videos. Their experience will be surveyed with a focus on their motivation engaging with Cantonese opera, compared with other students who view the same performance with a plain screen. Findings of this study is expected to test the hypothesis that whether the motivational effect found in other subjects from the previous studies could be applied similarly in the engagement of Cantonese opera. The approach of engaging students with immersive technology could simulate their interest in Cantonese opera, and help to promote its cultural, education and moral values by audience building. The use of VR could be a breakthrough in the transmission and sustainability of Cantonese opera, which has been recognized as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage items.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


Cheng, L., & Leung, B. W. (2017, July). Engagement in the appreciation of Cantonese opera through virtual reality (VR). Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (APSMER 2017): Music Education Transcending Borders, The Historical City of Melaka, Melaka, Malaysia.


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