(since 2011 "Ambitus")

A children's musical based on the texts of the Luxembourg children's book author Guy Rewenig. A collaboration of the "Ensemble Vocal Berdorf" and the "TNL"(Théâtre National du Luxembourg) with compositions by Jean Marie Kieffer under the musical direction of Roby Schiltz.

Special challenges / difficulties:
A combination of singing and acting with a scenically performing choir, interaction between school children and musically skilled adult's, played in three acoustically very different venues.

The play was a combination of music and dialogue parts. The dialogue part was mainly performed by a couple of actors: Christiane Rausch and Marco Lorenzini of TNL. Jacqueline Posing-Van Dyck directed the play. The "Ensemble Vocal Berndorf" and the "Ball-Farfall Orchestra", specially formed for this event, were responsible for the musical part. Supplemented by numerous children (122 in total), all from local primary schools. In addition to solo singing performances, there were many scenic choir parts.
It was clear from the beginning that the play was to be shown in three acoustically very different locations in Luxembourg:

  • Theatre Municipal-d'Esch Alzette (January 2003- 26th . + 27th)
  • CAPe-Ettelbréck (February 2003- 09th + 10th)
  • Conservatoire-Luxemburg (May 2003- 04th ,05th + 06th )

A further requirement was the planning and realization of a multitrack recording of every show in order to put the best version of each song on a live CD.

A setup had to be found for sound reinforcement and monitoring that worked with as few adjustments as possible at all venues.
A particular challenge was the fact that the orchestra was openly placed behind the scenes. This was difficult because of the many scenic choral passages. The choir was mainly picked up by microphones placed on booms that were attached to a kind of archway in the middle of the scene. In addition, I placed some pressure zone microphone (PZM) at the edge of the proscenium to pick up, some scenic atmosphere and larger groups of children. The problem here was the crosstalk of the orchestra into the PZM and choir-microphones. Because of the different acoustic runtimes a special precision was required for the tune-up of time-alignment of the audio setups.
Also the 3 different locations were a challenge:
The theater in Esch was a "classic" theater, a problem for the PA was that the balcony came very close to the stage.
Ettelbrück is a modern hall, which shaped like a long "tube" and had just one fly-line at the proscenium, allowing only a very small load to fly the loudspeakers.
The Conservatory in Luxembourg City was a completely different story. Here, in contrast to the two "peep box-stages" we had a completely open stage area. And the auditorium was much larger, especially wide and with a steep incline.
After the recce to all of the venues, I decided to do all the shows with the NEXO GEO S system. It has an excellent neutral tonal behavior. Some other factors made this system perfect for this special task at that time. One was that this system had very low sound radiating to the back, especially in the sub range. This was advantageous because of the use of PZM and studio choir microphones. Also with regard to the recording it was strongly advisable to have a directed radiating sound-system. Another big advantage was the possibility of varying the horizontal radiation range of the tops (symmetric or asymmetric 80 °/ 120° or 100°).
Also, the relatively low weight of the speaker cabinets turned out to be an advantage for this production as well.
I choose the digital mixing system YAMAHA PM1D as mixing board. On the one hand, it had all the possibilities for necessary scene memory and on the other hand, it was easy to connect the digital-multi-track recording to this system.
Also a video - monitoring had to be planned. Since the conductor and the singers/actors were standing back to back a visual monitoring was necessary. So a wide shot of the stage and a close-up of the conductor had to be fed into several video-monitors. I had the honor and pleasure to take care of the whole planning and implementation of all matters relevant to sound and video. I also did the front of house und monitor mix during the show as well as the planning and realization of the 40 track live recording for the Live-CD. Cologne-based company PADCO was selected for the sound equipment and the Gunni Mahling Studio from Saarbrücken did the part of the recording and production of the audio-CD.

Info / Specials:
orchestra :
piano, bass, drums, 3 percussion, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, 4 saxophones, 2 trumpets and 2 trombones

more pictures: 


Internetsite of Ambittus

More Infos about the production

Audiosample from the production