In 2009, the Macerata Opera Festival launched an ambitious and unique accessibility project with the aim of providing its audience with a wide range of free access services. Since 2009, all opera performances are audio described for blind or partially sighted people.
Audience members follow the description on headphones, on loan free of charge, which are provided by the theatre and positioned behind the seats. Audio description is a verbal commentary for the blind and visually impaired audience, with the aim to increase the accessibility of the opera performance by providing a detailed synopsis of the work, a tailored description of the set design, the costumes, and of what is happening visually on stage. Our audio descriptions also include details provided by the artists themselves (director, costume designer, light designer, set designer, and many others), in order to highlight the style of and the ‘philosophy’ behind the production. Introductory descriptions are provided approximately 15 minutes before the start of the performance and four-five minutes before the end of each interval. During the performance, short descriptions of 2-3 seconds are delivered simultaneously without interfering with it. From 2018, audio descriptions will be streamed directly and in real-time on users’ smartphones with the new Sennheiser’s MobileConnect technology (Sennheiser Streaming Technologies). Sennheiser MobileConnect streams audio content live directly to any smartphone, so that no additional hardware is necessary, and it allows to adjust the audio signal easily according to individual needs. You simply need to download and install the free MobileConnect app, which is available for both iOS and Android. The pre-recorded introductory descriptions can be downloaded free as MP3 files and are also accessible for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Tickets for all audio described performances are free for blind and partially sighted audience members, while a reduced-price ticket of 12.50 Euros is available for accompanying persons.