Shanghai (December 30, 2004)–The 6th Shanghai International Arts Festival opened with a ‘sight opera’ version of George Bizet’s classic opera, Carmen, performed by the Netherlands Companions Opera and featuring a Meyer Sound PA system entirely driven by XTA processors.
‘Sight opera’ is large-scale opera, held in stadiums or arenas that accommodate much larger audiences than traditional opera houses, but still maintain the key elements of a traditionally staged opera, such as decor, costumes, lighting and the all essential atmosphere. The first Carmen ‘sight opera’ was created by the Netherlands Companions Opera in 1995, and debuted in their home country.
Set in-the-round for the first time, this latest performance claims a new record as the grandest ever production of Carmen, on the largest stage, with the biggest audience at over 55,000 spectators. The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Michel Sasson and the show starred Sarah M’Punga as Carmen, Bojidar Nikolov as Don Jose, Althea-Maria Papoulia as Micaela and Nikola Mijailovic as Escamillo as well as for the 800 extras from Shanghai helping to recreate the atmosphere so Spain’s Seville.
To ensure that the vocal aspect of the opera was not compromised in the open-air setting, XTA partner Leifull Light & Sound Technology of Shanghai designed and installed a substantial Meyer Milo line array system controlled by XTA DP226 and DP224s. “Because the stage was elliptical in shape and about 20,000 square meters in size, with the audience seated all around it, we used a distributed line array system to ensure the spectators had the most direct sound possible,” explained James Dai from Leifull. “A total of sixteen clusters were stacked around the stage and on either side of the longer axis of elipse. We employed four clusters, each consisting of four Milos controlled by XTA DP224s and one M3D Sub controlled by a DP226. Another four clusters of four M3Ds and one M3D Sub were on each side of the shorter axis of the stage, with ten UPA-1Ps dotted in the performance area as monitor, and orchestra monitoring provided by four USM-100Ps and a UPJ-1P all controlled using DP226s.
“This was a very complicated project and our team encountered a lot of difficulties during the installation and tuning,” continued Dai. “The venue had very bad architectural acoustics; the reverberation time was longer than four seconds and normally two seconds is adequate for operatic production; and the architecture of the stadium caused a lot of reflections.
“Our task was to overcome these challenges and get the best coverage possible. The Meyer Milo system has a very low signal attenuation and with the amplifier inside the box, the coherence of speaker is much better than other speakers, which was a great help and this, along with XTA’s system control and AudioCore software, which is very simple and quick to use, allowed us to set up the PA to its best advantage.”
The show also used a total of 96 mic channels for FOH, broadcast and recording and Leifull used three XTA DS800s as mic/line distribution for this element. The show also featured an XTA C2 compressor and G2 gate during rehearsal to control the dynamic range of the CD player, as well as eight Meyer Sound CP-10s.
The Netherlands Companion Opera reported the performance to be a great success with a ten minute round of applause at the end of the show.