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Worldwide Opera - Ten Yamaha consoles for the live film of Rigoletto

Oct, 2010

The third appointment with "La Via della Musica" (The Road of Music), the ambitious project based on an idea of Andrea Andermann, which he produced with Italy’s state broadcaster, Rai: transforming operas into television events set in the places and at the time of day foreseen by the original librettos. After the international success of Tosca (Rome, 1992) and La Traviata (Paris, 2000), Mantua recently hosted Rigoletto.

Covered in HD by Direzione Produzione TV Rai and transmitted in Mondovisione in 138 nations, the Verdi masterpiece was directed by Marco Bellocchio, with cinematography by triple Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro. The Rai National Symphonic Orchestra was conducted by Zubin Mehta and the title role performed by Placido Domingo.

For audio coverage, Rai Direzione Radio installed four digital control rooms, three of which were equipped with Yamaha consoles.

The orchestra played in the Bibiena Theatre, whereas the singers and dancers performed in Palazzo Te, the Ducal Palace and Rocca di Sparafucile so, to ensure perfect sync between music and voices, flaw-free “two-way” distribution of the music, the indications of the conductor and the voices in the various locations was fundamental. Here too, Yamaha consoles played an indispensable role.

The head of the audio project by Radio Rai was Toni Ciano and the rental firm responsible for providing sound reinforcement on the sets Mixer Srl of Romanengo (Cremona).

Ciano explained, “The three sets’ audio control rooms were identical, and each equipped with a Yamaha M7CL and a DM2000: the wireless microphones of the solo singers (each wore a spare mic) were mixed by the M7CL-48, helmed by Maurizio Trevisan. The receivers were located near the sets, where their signals entered the converters of a matrix, connected via fibre optics to another identical unit in our room, from which the signals passed to the console and our multi-track recording systems.”

With the Channel Link function, Trevisan linked the parameters of the channels relative to each singer’s two microphones, so any adjustments made to the settings of one channel were automatically copied on the other, “This meant that, if there was a problem with either of the mics, we could immediately switch over to the other, which had identical settings.”

This was Trevisan’s first outing on an M7CL-48 and he stated: “My first reaction was of slight surprise, since, as opposed to the other Yamaha consoles I’d used in the past, as far as menus are concerned, the M7CL-48 has almost everything on its touchscreen - on the actual desk their are just faders, pan pots, selection buttons and other small functions – so the majority of the settings are accessed via the touchscreen. However, even if it’s necessary to get used to this modus operandi, it is quite intuitive and easy to work with, so my first experience and impressions were positive.”

Marco Diodato explained: “From the Bibiena Theatre, my DM2000 received a main left/right mix-down via fibre optics and a back-up signal feed via analogue radio link. Maurizio’s console was digitally linked directly to mine and he sent me his mix of the solo singers. From the matrix, I took the signals of all the hard-wired chorus microphones and those used for effects, such as footsteps, the ballroom scene, etc. arriving from the set.

I added the chorus and effects to the solo voices and orchestra, preparing a final mix which, by means of another matrix to which my desk was connected via digital cable, I fed to the HD OB van for beaming out via satellite.”

Regarding the consoles, Diodato stated: “For everything as far as signal processing was concerned – whether it was an equalizer or compressor – the Yamaha consoles were used. I enjoyed using them – we chose them because we were familiar with them, so were able to work without any worries. We knew they wouldn’t let us down as far as reliability was concerned and they also ensure the right quality:price ratio.”

Mixer Srl’s team of technicians was coordinated by Vittorio Magro, who continued: “At the Bibiena Theatre, Vincenzo Pastorino manned a PM5D, which received the ‘humming chorus’ in the theatre and the orchestra, divided into sections, as well as the chorus on the sets and solo voices (already mixed), for a total of approximately twenty channels.”

Pastorino added, “I distributed these channels to the over sixty orchestra members via a series of personal monitoring systems.”

Anything but a novice on Yamaha digital consoles (he is currently using a PM1D for the sound reinforcement in the Milan studios hosting the latest Italian edition of X-Factor), Pastorino had already also worked in a PM5D and stated, “I find it a great machine and it handles this type of work with no trouble at all.”

Sandro Oliva had the delicate task of manning the mixers used for sound reinforcement on the various set and, as well as ensuring the singers were able to follow the orchestra, also had to avoid his sound “spilling” into their mics. He had four Yamaha consoles at his disposal: two DM1000, both used in Act 1, an 02R and an 03D. At Palazzo Te and the Ducal Palace, as well as the stereo mix that arrived from the theatre, he received a stereo mix of the solo singers’ voices, a mix of the program played out and the intro and credit music.

Oliva explained: “At Rocca di Sparafucile, on the other hand, I received all the voices separately, because there was a point in Act 3 in which two singers were outdoors and two indoors, so they had to hear one another.”

Even if he prefers analogue consoles for recording studio work, and had never used a DM1000 before, Oliva opined: “I must say the experience was very positive – in fact, without the Yamaha consoles we would not have been able to do a job like this – I stored all the scenes, according to the position of the singers and the orchestra’s levels.”

Considering the importance of this great event, the BBC decided to personalize its transmission of Rigoletto for British viewers, and sent a small SIS Live integrated uplink and production facilities to cover presentations and interviews by Katie Derham. To mix the presentations’ audio with that of the Rai transmission, the van used its on-board mixer ..... a Yamaha 01V.


Products M7CL-48 , DM2000VCM

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