Zurich Opera House

Ranking high among the world’s most successful theatres, the Zurich Opera House hosts more than 300 opera and ballet performances, concerts and recitals each year. Another kind of performance has just been completed, as the opera house audio system has been upgraded with a Lawo mc²66 mixing console console at its heart.

Rehearsals have been taking place using the new system – so far without any problems.

‘I particularly like the clear routing displays on the mc²66,’ says Christian Venghaus, Tonmeister and head of the Zurich Opera House sound department. ‘Both on-screen and from the orange buttons we can immediately see what is routed. The number of possibilities available in the deeper layers of the console is also quite remarkable: for example, it is no problem to program fader starts, or similar functions. Nevertheless, on the control surface, operation is simple at all times.’

The Lawo equipment had to prove its full flexibility right from the start. On the first day of rehearsals, the balance between the different speaker groups was adjusted using an iPad, followed by a more precise set-up by the guest sound engineer from the ballet company, who used a laptop and a controller running the Mackie HUI Protocol. All three devices were connected to the mc²66 in the control room via a WLAN. With the rotary controls pre-programmed for EQ frequency, the controller functioned as a Midi remote for the large console.

‘With a laptop, the set-up is good to go and ready to start work on in only ten minutes,’ Venghaus explains. ‘Remote control via the iPad and the Mackie HUI-ready controller was set up by Lawo employees especially to accommodate our requirements.’

Zurich Opera House The one-hour break between rehearsals was more than time enough to move the console’s 16-fader extender to the side of the stage, to act as a front of house console. After a short time, audio was available from here. This quick set-up was partially made possible by close integration with the Yamaha DME64 installation that is used for front of house monitoring.

‘My goal has always been to bring the audio workstation to where it is needed, whether that’s in the first row next to the conductor, in the tenth row with the director, or in the control room, when it comes to handling complex tasks,’ Venghaus says.

Reconfiguring the console back to its original set-up for the evening rehearsal did not present any difficulties – the 40-fader (16+6+16 extender) mc²66 was reinstated in the control room within ten minutes.

‘Lawo offers an extremely high degree of networking and flexibility even in conditions where the highest quality of audio, safe operation, and reproducibility are absolutely necessary – a requirement that will remain essential for audio systems of the future,’ Venghaus says.

This season’s programme included Verdi’s La Traviata and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, as well as a premiere of Rossini’s The Silken Ladder.

More: www.lawo.de

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