Creating a Digital Drive-In Concert Event for Austin Opera | Subvrsive


Brand: Austin Opera


Creating a Digital Drive-In Concert for Austin Opera


A night at the opera often conjures up images of lavish concert halls, crisp tuxedos, and floor-length gowns. But Austin Opera— in true Austin style—is changing that perception. Last month, as the global pandemic continued to limit most live events, the Austin Opera team decided to bring the arts to their city in a distinctly Austin way: at the drive-in. They partnered with Subvrsive and the Blue Starlite to make it happen.

The Idea:

Reimagine the opera as a digital experience and invite patrons, donors, and the general public to enjoy a world-class performance from the comfort of their cars.

The Work:

We created a 73-minute cinematic experience that highlights performances by Lauren Snouffer and Mark Diamond, alongside intimate interview footage and stunning shots of the city of Austin.

The Result:

A feature-length film that premiered at several Blue Starlite Drive-In locations and was made available on YouTube as a limited-edition online release.


From Center Stage to the Big Screen


When Austin Opera decided to bring their season opener to life on the big screen, they chose to embrace the advantages of the digital format and, rather than replicate the exact experience of a night at the opera, create something unique.

Instead of showcasing an entire live performance from start to finish, the film begins with a montage of its star performers, Lauren Snouffer and Mark Diamond, exploring Austin’s most iconic places. Then, the film dives into the music, showcases up-close performances by Lauren and Mark, and weaves in intimate interviews that invite the audience to get to know the singers.


The Show Must Go On


By moving the opera from the stage to the screen, Austin Opera was able to reach a wider audience—both at the drive-in and online—and provide existing patrons and donors a truly unique experience.  Through up-close angles and shots, the new medium gives viewers a front-row seat to the performances; creating a level of intimacy difficult to achieve within the walls of a concert hall.

This year, many brands have had to completely reimagine their event strategies and find ways to supplement or replace in-person experiences with digital alternatives. And while it can be tough to recreate all of the magic of a live event on-screen, with the right tools and strategy, there are countless ways to create digital experiences that make a lasting impact.

“I think what surpised me the most … is how akin it is to a live performance, except in some ways a little bit better because you get to see so much closer. You get to see the intimate and the beautiful and the heartwrenching things that make opera such a wonderful artform. That transposes to film so well through the work that Subvrsive did in putting this together.”

– Annie Burridge, General Director & CEO, Austin Opera