Regarded as ‘a shrine to culture and architecture’, L’Opéra Bastille is also a working building that stages some of the biggest, most ambitious operatic productions in the world. One of its recent performances was to install an Ateïs International IP-based communications system, allowing stage managers, performers and crew to keep in touch.

L’Opéra Bastille auditoriumAteïs finished work on the building-wide paging and stage monitoring system at the end of 2010, and is now upgrading the public address installation. Unusually Ateïs France installed the paging and monitoring equipment itself, rather than supplying products to a systems integrator. ‘On this project products didn’t exist,’ explains Jerome Beyls, Commercial Director of Ateïs France. ‘So the best way was to deal directly with the opera so that new products could be developed to match what they needed.’

The new paging system covers 14 stages, 233 dressing rooms and 13km of corridors. The core of the installation is an Ateïs Vox@Net PA distribution server and controller. Based on IP (internet protocol) technology, this is the backbone of the monitoring and show call system. Each dressing room has a monitor loudspeaker and a touch screen for selecting to which stage someone wants to listen. The loudspeakers receive messages from the stage manager made on one of 23 stage call stations positioned around the opera.

IP-based sound systems are increasingly common in commercial audio installations, and Ateïs has committed to IP technology in its product development. Beyls says that IP technology gives the opera, which relies heavily on its paging and stage monitoring systems and cannot risk any failures, a ‘pledge of non-obsolescence’. Each message can be scheduled and played from the Vox@Net’s Hiperviseur control suite at specific times. This ensures that important messages are given priority and logs each transmission so on one can say they did not receive a call.

Relays of the live performances are processed and distributed through Ateïs new UAPg2 DSP audio matrix, which is connected to two mics hanging over the stage. Beyls says the original intention was to use the older ES22T, but as the UAPg2 developed, it was considered better suited to the job at the opera.

With opera productions changing on a regular basis, the paging/monitoring system has to be re-configured quickly and easily. This is done through the Hyperviseur application. This is used to create settings for each production, different tasks or for expanding the system when parameters are changed or additional paging desks brought in.

The 2,723-seat venue was designed by Canadian-Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott and opened on 13 July 1989 – the day before the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. Updating technical equipment is a continual process at big venues and the Bastille Opera is no exception. As well as designing new products to suit the installation, Ateïs developed software specifically for the project, as well as installing networks based on fibre optic switches. Beyls says the installation was not straightforward because of this and the fact that the Opera continued to stage shows while work went on.

‘But it was worth the effort because this is a project that has given the Bastille Opera a system that will develop and expand with the years,’ he says. ‘It has also produced new Ateïs products that we know will benefit the commercial audio market as a whole.’

More: www.ateis-international.com

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