the whisper opera is performed for less than 50 people, at extremely low volume. The show’s libretto was composed with the help of Google auto-complete. You will find yourself listening closely, and unable to hear everything that’s being said.

Use this study guide to learn more about the show, plus start getting into the larger questions of intimacy, technology, and listening that the whisper opera evokes.

Watch a trailer for the show



  • Read a review of a past production of the show in the New York Times, and a story about David Lang’s creative process


Office Hours with David Lang and Ethan Philbrick, PhD

Office Hours with David Lang and Ethan Philbrick

David Lang and Ethan Philbrick in our “office hours” series chatting about the upcoming performances of the whisper opera. Learn more about these performance at NYU Skirball Jan 24-Feb 4:

Posted by NYU Skirball on Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Get a glimpse into the artistic process with David Lang and Ethan Philbrick in this installation of NYU Skirball’s “Office Hours.” Lang gets in-depth: on collaboration and creativity, secrets embedded in the whisper opera, and why music matters.

Ethan Philbrick, PhD is a scholar and artist currently teaching at NYU and Pratt. (And here’s another secret: keep an eye out for his work in upcoming NYU Skirball seasons…)

Extra Credit


  • Interested in thinking about the voice? Read “Che Bella Voce!“, the introduction to Mladen Dolar’s influential A Voice and Nothing More


  • Want to think more about liveness and listening in theatrical spaces? Read Jean Graham-Jones’ “Editorial Comment: Hearing Theatre,” an introduction to a collection of essays on listening


  • NYU is conducting a study based on noise pollution, called SONYC: read about it in the New York Times 


  • Take a walk and hear Washington Square Park differently with the Holladay Brothers‘ site-specific composition, commissioned by NYU Skirball and available on your smartphone