TTA Tracks Down Berlioz At St Galler Festspiele
(Switzerland) The St Galler Festspiele, now in its seventh year, is hailed as one of the most important cultural events in the Swiss calendar.
A three-week open-air festival dedicated to classical music and dance performances, the highlight of the event is an open-air opera performance against the stunning backdrop of the St Gallen cathedral, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. This year’s opera was “La Damnation de Faust” from flamboyant French composer, Hector Berlioz.
Swiss AV consultancy company Tingo GmbH were responsible for the sound design of the main stage outside the cathedral, for which they specified a Stagetracker FX realtime performer tracking system from TTA. Sound engineer and audio consultant Dani Niedermann who works with Tingo takes up the story: “I have been working on this festival since it was first inaugurated in 2006,” he said. “We have been using a performer tracking system for the last four years, but this is the first time we have used a TTA system. I have to admit that I’m delighted with the results.”
The stage at St Gallen for this production was very unusual in that it was completely asymmetric and incorporated several different levels and gradients. It was also vast, measuring 35m wide by 15m deep, and completely open to the elements. “This was why it was so interesting to have a performer tracking system in place – it added an element to the sound that is completely unexpected in an open air environment and enabled us to deliver the best possible audio experience for the audience, even if the weather was a bit windy,” explained Niedermann. “We had an audience capacity of 1200 people so it was appreciable to have the extra precision afforded to us by the TTA system.”
Tingo GmbH deployed three separate sound systems for the production: the first, a d&b V-Series line array in a classic L-R configuration which handled the 60-piece philharmonic orchestra seated under the stage; the second for the tracking system for the four soloists which comprised eight d&b E12 cabinets flown across the front of the stage and a further six d&b E8s on a delay line (three per side through the seating auditorium). The third system comprising six d&b Q7s and four E8s placed around the back and sides of the audience handled surround sound/room acoustics to create a concert hall-like feeling for the audience.
“The TTA stagetracker was definitely at the heart of the whole system,” stated Niedermann. “It was the element that gave coherency to the rest. We could, of course, have done it without the Stagetracker, but it wouldn’t have sounded as good, and now we’ve used it, we don’t want to go back!”
“I can see the potential of the TTA system for a number of different applications,” he continued. “Our theatre clients are very interested in the product for fixed installations, because the other interesting point about the Stagetracker system is that it’s not only about performer tracking – thanks to the delay matrix it’s also a fantastic tool for sound effects. Once the system is in place, you can send anything to anywhere in the room really quickly and easily. A traditional set-up would take up a lot of outputs on the desk and require some seriously complicated routing and patching to achieve the same thing. I’d take a Stagetracker FX system over that any day!”
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