London (June 8, 2010)—A massive production of Bizet’s classic opera, Carmen, was staged at the O2 Arena in late May, with a Meyer Sound Milo system bringing every note to the 18,000-capacity arena.
To cover The O2’s main seating bowl, the production relied on left-right arrays of 16 Milo and two Milo 120 line array loudspeakers each for the orchestral system, with 90 Mica line array loudspeakers dedicated to performers’ voices. A total of 60 UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers serve as frontfill to cover the front rows and provide correct imaging of the performers.
“It’s a fascinating project,” says Autograph’s Duncan Bell. “Starting with many theatre-based techniques and using 32 channels of radio and then applying them to a scale more usually associated with rock concerts was certainly a challenge.”
System design was charged to Bobby Aitken, who worked closely with associate Chris Ekers and Meyer Sound European Technical Support. Aitken’s credits include Mamma Mia!, Dirty Dancing, We Will Rock You, and Lennon, in addition to several operas at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
“Reproducing the highly dynamic vocals produced by opera singers is always a challenge,” says Aitken. “In this setting, we also had the added complexity of delivering reinforcement in 360 degrees. I was particularly pleased with the intelligibility through the system and the coherence of the vocals.”
Directed by David Freeman, and presented jointly by Raymond Gubbay and The O2, Carmen was performed by a cast of over 200 singers, dancers, acrobats, and fire-eaters. Cristina Nassif and Louise Poole shared the role of Carmen, while John Hudson and Philip O’Brien alternated as Don Jose. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gareth Hancock provided accompaniment.
Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc.