Moscow Musical Theatre Rossiya
Stage Audio, Russia
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The Moscow Musical Theatre Rossiya is equipped in L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology, which delivers multidimensional audio using the L-ISA Processor through object based mixing achieved in L-ISA Controller software. L-ISA works by taking post-fader, post-processing outputs for each channel and creating signal feeds for each speaker or speaker group. These feeds—up to 96 sound objects—go to the L-ISA Processor, a multicore spatial audio processing engine that that can place those objects in a three-dimensional sound field using a combination of the L-ISA Controller software parameters: Pan, Width, Distance, Elevation, and Aux Send.
Desk Link allows operators to control those parameters for designated L-ISA channels directly from the theatre’s DiGiCo SD10 console and store / recall them using the console’s snapshot engine. This ability to localise and move up to 96 objects in the 3D sound field, with the heightened resolution of multiple speaker hangs, brings sound designers greater creative freedom, and the potential for a more immersive, visceral experience for the audience.
The installed L-Acoustics configuration comprises five hangs of nine Kiva II ultra-compact modular line source elements across the stage to create the main L-ISA Scene system. That is augmented by an Extension system to both sides of the Scene, consisting of two hangs of six Kiva II. Low frequencies are taken care of by two hangs of three SB18 subs flown either side of the central Kiva II hang. Importantly, all arrays are hung well above the stage, outside the audience’s line-of-sight.
Two X12 multi-purpose coaxial enclosures stacked stage left and right provide outfill, whilst eight ultra-compact 5XT evenly distributed across the stage lip handle front fill. Amplification is via ten LA4X and two LA12X amplified controllers.
Moscow Musical Theatre wanted to take an innovative and exciting approach to sound design in their new location, the remodelled and refurbished Rossiya Theatre on Moscow’s famous Pushkinskaya Square. The Theatre’s repertoire ranges from a rock opera production of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, to a fusion of circus performance with operetta and musical genres in The Circus Princess, and a retelling of Cinderella for a more mature audience. Its ambitious and creative stagecraft, under the guidance of Artistic Director Mikhail Shvydkoy, draws international audiences and A-List artists.
Maria Lenarskaya is Head of Sound at the theatre, and sees this new chapter as a natural evolution of the sound department’s culture of innovation: “Our theatre is growing rapidly.; New productions appear regularly, and every year we always try to do something new, to step forward somehow.”
Before the L-Acoustics installation, Lenarskaya and her team were already experimenting with discrete sources, but with traditional technology, which pushed the limits of console automation and matrixing systems. “It was interesting, but not easy,” she said. “It requires painstaking work on the mix. With the purchase and installation of L-ISA, we now have lots of opportunity for bringing new colours to our performances in a convenient and intuitive way. Everything is connected, and it’s quick to change anything according to artistic need.”
The challenge of specifying the PA system for the new venue was given to Stage Audio, a long-standing partner of the theatre. Along with the client’s creative requirements, maximum audience coverage and an accurate sound-stage were the priorities. According to Stage Audio, once those needs had been identified, L-ISA was the obvious solution and, together with L-Acoustics and its Russian distributor Sonoruss, designed and installed the new L-ISA configuration.
Moscow Musical Theatre Rossiya is the world’s first permanent installation of L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology in a musical theatre environment. The system achieves extremely natural sound, accurate localization, and ultra-high spatial resolution. This gives superior separation of sound sources resulting in greater intelligibility and richly detailed musical content. The result is particularly advantageous in a live theatre environment where audio inputs are numerous and varied, including in the course of a single production. At times there may be one soloist or one actor speaking; at other times there may be a full orchestra and a chorus singing complex harmonies. By clear separation and localization of sound objects, L-ISA Hyperreal Sound allows Moscow Musical Theatre to deliver excellent sound that engages and connects with the public more directly. Furthermore, the ease of use of the L-ISA Ecosystem, which inserts directly into a well-known audio production workflow downstream of the mixing console makes achieving spatialized audio more simple than it has even been with ad hoc approaches.
Maria Lenarskaya, the venue’s Head of Audio concluded that while the new system has come with a substantial audio quality upgrade, that is not necessarily the most significant change for the theatre. “The improvement in sound and ease of system management are important, but are not the only advantages of this new technology. We were honoured to extend our existing L-Acoustics system and create an L-ISA Hyperreal Sound installation. It will allow us to continue to surprise, impress, and delight our audience.”