A French rapper performed a fully audio-described concert this weekend so that blind or visually impaired fans could also enjoy the show and the scenography.
It was reported to be the first time this had been done in France.
“It is wonderful to be able to do this, it is a pride for me,” said Soprano during the concert on Saturday (October 28) at the Arena Loire in Trélazé, near Angers.
Visually impaired or blind audience members were equipped with headphones and a receiver to enjoy the rapper’s music, as part of his Chasseur d'étoiles tour.
Setting the stage for inclusivity
The audio description encapsulated the performance, choreography, lighting costumes and Soprano’s stage presence, translating the visual elements into verbal narratives.
The task of audio description was undertaken by Morgan Renault, a 37-year-old who has been practising the profession for 13 years, mainly in the world of cinema, audiovisual and theatre.
At the concert he spent nearly two hours sitting in front of the stage, with his headset and microphone, describing the show to the visually impaired spectators, taking care not to encroach on the songs.
“My goal is to be as precise and pictorial as possible so that these people can live the same experience as the visionaries, without encroaching on Soprano’s words,” said Mr Renault.
The unprecedented audio description operation was initiated by the Visio Foundation, based in Angers, specialising in helping and assisting visually impaired children and adults.
Symphony for change
This is not the first time Soprano has worked to improve concert accessibility, previously having his performance at the Vieilles Charrues festival translated live into sign language.
His goal is to inspire other artists to incorporate audio description into their concerts.
By making concerts more accessible artists can ensure that all fans regardless of their abilities can enjoy the live music experience.
The practice is becoming more widespread in the US, for example a deaf interpreter dubbed Rhianna’s Super Bowl 2023 concert in sign language.