Composer and Behavioural Finance Expert Create ‘Reality’ Opera Based on Open Outcry Stock Trading Floor
LONDON, December 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
Reality TV is an old concept which we’re all familiar with. However, Alexis Kirke
[http://cmr.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/alexiskirke/aboutalexis.htm ], a leading composer at the
Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at Plymouth University , and Dr Greg
B Davies, Head of Behavioural and Quantitative Finance at Barclays, have taken reality
performances to another level by partnering with Barclays [http://www.barclayswealth.co.uk
] to produce a reality opera. The performance, which was held on the 15th November 2012 at
Egyptian Hall, Mansion House, focused on the drama unfolding on an “open outcry” stock
trading floor, the type of trading floor on which traditionally traders shout and use
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Thanks to melodies carefully crafted with evolutionary computer algorithms, during the
performance singers sang what they wanted, when they wanted, within certain rules, just
like the freedom people have in reality TV programmes. However, like a traditional opera,
music was used alongside singers to demonstrate the emotion of the story.
The concept was conceived by Alexis and the opera brought to life in collaboration
with Dr Greg B Davies [http://www.investmentphilosophy.net/about-us ], Head of Behavioural
and Quantitative Finance at Barclays [http://www.barclayswealth.co.uk ]. Alexis created
the music while Greg applied his behavioural finance expertise to create the market within
which the singer-traders were responding, generating the ebb and flow of emotion and money
on a trading floor. Furthermore, the performance was directed by Alessandro Talevi
[http://www.alessandrotalevi.com ], former winner of the European Opera Directing Prize.
To enable the music to express the emotional activity on the trading floor, Kirke
composed what he calls “trading phrases” such that when most singers were buying, the
harmonies between them were pleasant, and when most are selling, the harmonies clashed.
When two performers sang ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ melodies for the same asset, the two sounded in
time and harmonious.
‘Open Outcry’ featured 12 singers and a cellist, Joseph Spooner. The audience sat at
tables among the “traders” (in the trading pit), and the conductor rang a bell to signify
the market opening. As the cellist played, large screens displayed stock information and
the conductor guided some aspects of the permissible actions of the singers. The
performers sang one musical phrase to buy each asset and another to sell. The prices were
largely driven by random market movements generated by a computer model, though the
conductor did have some power to influence stock prices, as did the effect of the
“trading” between the singers themselves.