Watch a soprano shatter a glass – with science

Pictured above is the dramatic moment a soprano shattered a glass using the power of her voice – live on the BBC.

The Manchester Science Festival teamed up with BBC Arts and BBC Tomorrow’s World to stream three live experiments from the Museum of Science and Industry during Opera Passion Day, the BBC’s biggest-ever celebration of opera.

Along with experiments looking at how opera singers make their voices so loud and why exactly we have an emotional response to signers, the team looked at the science behind the story that a soprano hitting a high note can shatter glass.

Prof Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford, the lead educational sponsors for the festival, explained how the vibrations caused by sound waves can cause a glass to crack, before setting up equipment that would allow soprano Lauren to demonstrate the effect safely.

But after attempts to perform the experiment in rehearsals failed the team were understandably nervous about trying it live – Prof Cox said he avoids doing the experiment in front of a live audience as it is so difficult to do successfully.

Despite the failed rehearsal, when it came to the crunch the glass shattered – causing excitement in the studio.

Click here to watch the experiment in full and find out more about the acoustic science behind it.

Prof Cox went on to perform his sold out show Electrifying the Voice at Chetham’s Library in the evening – but refrained from trying to repeat the trick.