Except for all the antenna farms, it looked like a normal night at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles: skater kids ran to the Gold Line, shoeless transients read yesterday’s Times, businessmen yakked into phones. But in the opulent dining hall off the main concourse an orchestra tuned up for the opening strains of Invisible Cities, the operatic adaptation of Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel. As the music began with a flurry of timpani and discordant woodwinds, guests in the room heard a perfectly balanced stereo mix on Sennheiser HDR 120 wireless headphones.

It didn’t feel that strange until the lyrics began — because the singers were nowhere in sight. The opera would play out simultaneously in different parts of the terminal and spectators would “only be limited by the range of the wireless signal,” director Yuval Sharon prefaced. “Everyone will miss something beautiful.”