The "Divertissementchen" is a light opera in bigger dimensions (more than 100 persons on stage). More than 30 participants were equipped with wireless microphones to support them in their singing and speaking parts of the play. A big orchestra was responsible for the musical support together with a pop band. In addition there was a ballet on stage. All participants that appear on stage were recruited out of the Cologne men's choral society.
Special challenges / difficulties:
Traditionally the "Divertissementchen" is performed during the month before carnival at the opera house of Cologne. The opera was not available because of bigger rebuilding measures. The so called "Musicaldom" near the central station was selected as an alternative site. The "Musicaldom" was conceived as a performance venue for modern "pop musicals", this means that the acoustics have a very short reverberation time in the auditorium so it sounds very "dry". Moreover, there is no acoustically functioning orchestra pit. Also all acoustic activities which work out well at a "normal" theatrical stage did not. So there was some technical aid needed for the support around this stage.
The stage play community Cäcilia Wolkenburg, a sup organization of the Cologne men's choral society, has performed for a lot of years a humorous light opera traditionally in the month before carnival. Every year a newly written paly will be shown under the top label of "Divertissementchen". In 2013 the production had to move to another venue caused by rebuilding measures in the Cologne opera house. Thus the Divertissementchen moved to one of the alternative play sites of the opera, the "Musicaldom".
The company PADCO from Hürth put me in charge of the conception, planning realization of all the sound issues which where needed at this site.
An that had not existed before was built to house the orchestra and the pop band. But unfortunately, the acoustic coupling of the pit was absolutely insufficient caused by the pre-existing "to good" insulation of the auditorium. This made it necessary to pick up the complete orchestra and the band with microphones to support them technically. Even a choir of more than 100 people was not able to reach the spectators in adequate form under these circumstances without technical support. The starting point for planning the acoustic reinforcement was the preinstalled installed Line-Array left and right beside the proscenium, as well as a row of supporting loudspeakers, mounted beneath the edge of the balcony. We complemented that with additional supporting loudspeakers. On the lighting bridge additional loudspeakers were appropriated to the care of the balcony. Also along the edge of the orchestra pit small front fill loudspeakers were mounted. In the auditorium left and right I chose small active loudspeakers installed to the fill-up of acoustically of undersupplied areas.
As mixing board a was used. This desk gave me the possibility to keep one eye on more than 30 channels of the singers and actors without switching layers. All necessary monitor signals could also be realized from FOH out of this mixing board. Because of the special acoustic circumstances it was necessary to generate different mixes as feeds for each area with its adequate signals. For example there was a big disproportion between orchestra and song voices at the spectators' areas on the balcony. Therefore, it was necessary to give the voices a stronger support at the balcony than the orchestra. At the edge of the orchestra pit several "midget" loudspeakers were installed. These very small loudspeakers were necessary to move the sound image that mainly came from the petty high flown main arrays back to stage level.
Info / Specials:
36 wireless microphones, 5 pressure zone microphones, 12 microphones for the pickup of the band, 13 microphones for the pickup of the orchestra.