Calrec Audio announced today that it supplied the audio console that handled surround-sound routing for a full-scale, live-to-air production of Mozart's opera "The Abduction From the Seraglio" in two hangars at Salzburg Airport -- an event that the host broadcaster called "Austria's most complex, prestigious, and important audio event in 2013." German outside broadcast (OB) company TVN Group along with cooperative partner Euro TV were responsible for the live broadcast during the 2013 Salzburg Festival. TVN installed an Artemis Beam console in a separate on-site audio container to handle the 5.1 music mix for the production and Calrec Hydra I/O boxes to feed the console.
"The Artemis Beam exceeded our expectations for sonic performance and patching flexibility, especially in such an intricate and acoustically challenging environment as this one was. The complexity of the event was enormous since this production was not only going live-to-air, but also had to be recorded for a subsequent DVD/Blu-ray(TM) release," said Stephan Thyssen, head of sound at TVN Group. "We were also impressed with the support we got from Calrec throughout the entire project. The production had so many moving parts, and Calrec allowed us to test the console on short notice and made sure there was someone on site from setup through rehearsals to broadcast to operate the console and help the production run smoothly."
The logistically, artistically, and technically challenging production took place in Hangar-7, home to a collection of historic Flying Bulls airplanes and Formula One race cars, as well as an exhibit space, restaurant, caf©, and lounge, all of which served as the backdrop for the opera. Renowned opera singers and actors performed not on a stage in front of a seated audience, but at various locations embedded in the normal course of evening events at Hangar-7, making visitors to Hangar-7 both a part of the live broadcast and witnesses to its production. Performers and audience members wore headsets to receive an in-ear mix of the performance. The opera was recorded at various locations inside Hangar-7, and individual scenes formed a unified whole when viewed on television. An additional stage in Hangar-8 about 500 yards away held a 60-piece orchestra and a choir, and it was surrounded by a catwalk that let the audience walk freely around the stage.
The Artemis Beam console was used to mix the orchestra from its own audio container. The conductor was about 440 yards away from the singers, and the mix the conductor received from the front-of-house (FOH) desk had to be independent of the final 5.1 mix and stereo downmix. The Artemis Beam sent the stereo downmix to the conductor, and the FOH mixer added the singers on top. The console also played a role in remixing and fault-finding during rehearsals. Every rehearsal was recorded in multichannel as well as stereo format, and mixes were reproduced in the mornings to improve details.
With a fleet of six trucks, TVN is one of the leading OB service providers in Germany, working primarily on sports and music events in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Theo Schulte from Berlin-based Arc Studios, Calrec's representative in Germany, provided on-site support for TVN and also served as the operator.
"It was exciting to be a part this ambitious and one-of-a-kind production," said Chas Rowden, Calrec's EMEA sales manager. "Support is a big concern for TVN, which made Calrec the perfect fit for the group. Calrec makes a point of developing close relationships with customers that go far beyond the sale -- not only to ensure that we continue developing products that suit them, but also to ensure that they have our full attention and support whenever and wherever they need it."
Information about Calrec and its products is available at www.calrec.com