A permanently installed Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system at Hamburg's Stage Operettenhaus is currently supporting Love Never Dies (German: Liebe Stirbt Nie), the musical sequel to the long-running The Phantom of the Opera. Lloyd Webber's longtime sound designer Mick Potter uses Constellation's acoustical effects throughout the show to optimize the aural experience for the audience.
"The Operettenhaus is a very dry sounding theatre, so we're using short reverb time presets throughout the show to add a beautiful, natural acoustic ambience to the room," says Potter. "We also use Constellation to enhance the drama by completely changing the acoustical space, like when we use longer reverb times for scenes in the phantom's lair and shorter ones for outdoor scenes."
In addition to transforming the theatre's acoustics to suit each scene, Constellation's core D-Mitri digital audio platform has also been tapped to implement discrete surround sound effects. "We can leverage the power of D-Mitri for effects like rain and thunder through direct inputs from the FOH console," explains Potter. "It works extremely well, and has saved us much of the cost of a separate, dedicated surround system."
Owned by Stage Entertainment and used exclusively for the company's own productions and special events such as company meetings, the 1,335-seat Operettenhaus was the first musical theatre venue to install Constellation in 2012, prior to the opening of ROCKY - Das Musical.
Love Never Dies was Potter's first experience in designing a production for a theatre with a permanent Constellation system. "I certainly prefer the flexibility of Constellation to what I hear in most theatres, as they aren't usually built with ideal acoustics," he says. "Constellation evens out the acoustical response, so that what you hear in the open auditorium is the same as what you hear under the balcony. This makes it much easier to carry the same musical experience uniformly throughout the entire audience."
The Operettenhaus's Constellation system comprises 235 self-powered Meyer Sound loudspeakers, 42 cardioid and omni microphones for capturing ambient room acoustics, and a D-Mitri platform hosting the patented VRAS acoustical algorithms. To supply extra power where needed in Potter's surround design, eight UP-4XP and eight UPJunior VariO loudspeakers have been added.
Potter's direct reinforcement system design is based around a proscenium system of 36 M'elodie line array loudspeakers, a center cluster of three UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers, and two-each 700-HP, 600-HP and 500-HP subwoofers. A total of 65 UPJ-1P, M1D line array, UPM-1, UPJunior, and UMS-1P loudspeakers provides delays, fills, and pit imaging. Michael Weber, theatrical sound coordinator for Stage Entertainment, and Steffen Riese, technical director for Stage Operettenhaus, both worked with Potter on configuration specifics, equipment sourcing, and configuration details.
Love Never Dies first opened in London in 2010, with subsequent productions in Australia, Denmark, and Japan before the German language production premiered in Hamburg.