New York (December 13, 2006)–October saw the Great Pyramids of Giza form the backdrop to a remarkable production of Peer Gynt, one of Ibsen’s most famous works. The event featured a large cast plus the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Cairo Opera Acapella Choir and singers from The Norwegian National Opera. Preparing for two 3,000-capacity performances, the show’s live audio designer, Per Ola Holden, brought in three DiGiCo consoles.
“I did three research trips down to Egypt, in February, in March and in April,” says Per Ola, of DiGiCo’s Norwegian distributor AVAB-CAC A/S. “In the beginning we discussed using local companies to supply everything, but there are currently no digital consoles in Egypt. It would have meant having five 40 channel analog consoles at FOH, another two at monitors and at least one extra sound technician. We decided to bring in our own consoles from Norway. The time we had available was very tight too, so the ability to programme the consoles offline was a key factor.”
Cairo-based Acoustic Audio was used to supply racks and stacks, which comprised a JBL Vertec VT4888 rig, flown nine per side with six front fills and four Electro-Voice subs per side. Monitors were a dozen Turbosound TFM-230 wedges, 20 E-V ZX-1s for the orchestra and eight JBL EONs for the choir. AVAB-CAC deployed a DiGiCo D1 and D5 at Front of House, with a further D1 on monitors. The DiGiCo consoled arrived on 12th October, with the first rehearsal scheduled for the next day.
The sound team had a scare, thanks to the equipment receiving some extremely rough handling en-route. “The cases were almost falling apart,” says Per Ola. “One of the MADI racks had been crushed so hard that the rack strips/rails had only the rackmounts attached to it, while the MADI box was sitting loose at the bottom of the rack. Yet the DiGiCo equipment performed perfectly during the entire rehearsal and show period!”
The D1 at FOH was used to submix the orchestra and the choir, the orchestra alone using 104 microphones. These were patched to two onstage MADI racks and to the D1 via coax cables. The microphones were submixed into eight stereo groups, returned to the same MADI racks and sent to a transformer splitter at stage right. In addition, the D1 also received four stereo subgroups of the choir’s 32 microphones.
The nine pairs of stereo mixes were then fed to the D5, which was the show’s main console. The D5 also handled 24 wireless mic feeds from the actors, four wired backing vocal mics, harp, keyboards, a local mini MADI rack to handle local talkback, a four input Lexicon 480L digital effects system and outputs for the show’s live television broadcast and DVD recording.