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By Kate Campbell-Payne on

Watch a soprano shatter a glass—with science

Manchester Science Festival teamed up with the BBC to stream three live experiments from the museum 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.

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. Professor 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.

Professor 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.

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