Carsten Kümmel
Home to Regensburg’s Schlossfestspiele since 2002, the St Emmaran castle courtyard hosted everything from opera and classical music to Max Raabe and Udo Jürgens again recently. With sound requirements changing daily to support the musical programme, advance planning had begun back in January…

For 2013, this included creating ‘concert hall acoustics’ in the open air for a performance of La Traviata. With Tonmeister Carsten Kümmel at the helm, the key to achieving this was a Lawo mc²56 mixing console.

While the orchestra was in a ballroom in the castle, where regular microphone techniques were used to pick up the instruments, a concert hall ambience was created with monitor speakers situated below the venue’s tribune, which were used to direct effects channels with a high level of early reflections towards the castle walls, returning diffuse reflections back towards the audience.

Additionally, Kümmel used a panning technique found in the Innovason Eclipse mixing console (Lawo’s live brand) as a feature called Pandora. Contrary to conventional panning, this brings a correct balance of the instruments in the stereo mix to listeners sitting at the edges of the auditorium.

Schlossfestspiele‘For a festival like this we have more than 100 inputs and more than 40 buses, so I need a large-sized mixing console if I want to avoid scaling down my demands,’ Kümmel says, explaining his choice of the Lawo mc²56. ‘With this console, these demands are no problem at all, while other consoles would have reached their limitations.

Other advantages of the console are the flexibility regarding the choice of workflow and its ability to record audio to a PC via Madi using the console’s displays to control the recording software. Additionally, the option to split the console into two completely independent working areas allows it to be operated by two engineers, as was necessary for a performance of The Rocky Horror Show.

The audio was transmitted between the ballroom and stage, and up to the conductor along with video feeds used for communication. The difficulty presented by having the FOH position situated below the tribune meant that Lawo’s remote control iPad app was used to balance the sound remotely from the location of the mixing desk. There were also three Lawo Dallis stageboxes on stage: ‘two mobile ones that I would fit to the requirements of every day, and a static one that I set up with the standard requirements like communication, sound for the wardrobes, the gong for the breaks and emergency announcements,’ Kümmel explains.

The equipment was delivered by Lawo’s rental operation, Audio Broadcast Services. Supporting this, the production was attended to also by the Lawo’s product management team. ‘The mc²56 performed flawlessly with regard to all requirements of such an ambitious mixing concept and excels by high reliability. And it is a console that additionally is a joy to operate,’ says Kümmel, who has been responsible for the live sound at this event since its first staging, ten years ago.

‘The festival was a great success this year. In spite of – or maybe because of – the many possibilities that the console provides, the technical workflows were actually more clearly arranged and easier to handle than in the years before. So I was able to concentrate on the real focus: the music,’ Kümmel concludes.

More: www.lawo.de

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