The 15th century de Merode castle provided a unique setting for Albert I, an historical music spectacular on the Belgian King-soldier’s life in the Great War, the world economy crisis and, eventually, his death in 1934. Over 200 dancers, acrobats and extras backed a cast of professional singers and actors.
Event-support and rental company Demon provided the comprehensive audio kit for the open air event, staged between 12 August and 2 September. “The whole production, both FOH as well as monitoring, was steered by a DiGiCo SD10 console with Waves Server One,” explains Tom Vissers, responsible for monitoring and wireless in the productions.
“The SD10 carries a Waves SoundGrid card allowing us to control our Waves plug-ins from the console. In addition we used three MacBook Pro portables. The first was deployed for multitrack recording at FOH, and used for virtual sound-check and as a back-up for plug-ins. On stage we used a second MacBook with QLab Live show control software, controllable from either the FOH or monitor position, or on stage. A third MacBook served as redundant back-up for the on-stage portable.”
A backstage computer, working in remote mirror mode simultaneously with the SD-10, allowed the independent control of monitors and in-ears during rehearsals and shows ñ without having to bother the FOH desk or engineer. Albert is big cast also urged Vissers to use an impressive inventory of wireless gear. “In total, the production has 24 Sony DWX wireless headsets, eight channels of Sennheiser 2000 in-ears and four Shure UR4D wireless receivers for the instruments used on stage,î he said. ìAbove that, we used 12 Sony DWR-RO2DN wideband receivers, a WD 850 antenna splitter, two Sony RMU-01 cross remote function antennas and two AN-01 antennas.”
Demon are a dedicated d&b audiotechnik rental company. “For the FOH we had flown clusters of six (3x 2) C4 top speakers and 6 C4 subs, on either side of the stage,” continued Vissers. “Two more C4 top cabinets served as side fills next to the stands. And under the stands, we installed four B2 subs switched on INFRA to be used as Infrabass for subs and effects with the C-series speakers.”
For monitoring, a combination of eight C18 speakers (main stage) and four E0 speakers (upper stage) were put in place, carefully camouflaged in the stage. The audio system was powered by three d&b D6, four x D12, and three x D80 amplifiers. An automated talk-back system was connected with the SD-10 console, allowing crew members and the director to select specific staff on the FOH position, monitors, cast on stage, lighting and backstage.
The musical stage, placed in front of the castle, provided an excellent setting for the Albert I spectacle. Offering great views for the 1,900 people capacity stands, the stage floor, surrounded by the castle moat, served as battle field during the WW1 scenes and was rapidly reshaped into a more ‘traditional’ stage.
Albert I was organised by Historalia, and produced by Prince Simon de Merode – the shows attracted some 30,000 visitors.
Pictures: Top: Principals with Prince de Merode. Second: The night view of de Merode castle. Third: WWI scene in Albert I. Last: Stage view with speaker clusters.