National Theatre of China

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Mr Hongzhi Han is the luckiest of men, he has the enviable role of being responsible for the new National Theatre of China (NTC) in Beijing. National pride notwithstanding, the National Theatre manages to bridge the divide between the old and venerable heritage of traditional Chinese theatre, and then with studied care embrace it to the bosom of the Nation’s burgeoning modernism; something clearly communicated by the architecture. Mr Hongzhi Han as the Officer for Stage Art Centre has the pleasure of defining how to engage the very latest technologies to marry these two threads in what he defines as ‘a harmony of creativity.’ Most recently he has addressed the needs of the audio department and has done so in emphatic fashion.

The main theatre has had a comprehensive d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system installed; the proscenium stage features Ci7s and Ci-SUBs installed left and right, with Ci90s and Ci-SUBs at centre. The auditorium seats just over one thousand people and has a single balcony. Effects and fill is provided by MAX12 and Ci80 loudspeakers, with short throw frontfill delivered by E0s. There is also an extensive system of d&b E-Series loudspeakers for the Rehearsal Hall, mainly E12 with E15X subwoofers, some ceiling effect coverage is provided by Ci80s as it is also done in the main theatre.

As is so often the case with cultural projects in China, the audio at the NTC has some special elements to it; the installed design was made by Mr Chen Jianhua from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China, “Though of course we assisted him in every way possible,” said Mr Minrui Dai, Senior Project Manager for d&b China. “The acoustic properties of the room are excellent, the RT is perfect for spoken drama thanks to the skills of leading acoustic design house Beichen Design and Research of Buildings for the Performing Arts. Mr Chen Jianhua has huge experience as a consultant on many theatre projects throughout China; that meant he was able to clearly define the desired coverage and levels for every seat in the house. We drew up an EASE model and had our calculations confirmed by our Technical Director Mr Chiwai Chan assisted by Stefan Goertz from d&b Application Support back in Germany.” Mr Chen Jianhua and Mr Hongzhi Han had previously conducted listening experiments, “We listened to many high end loudspeaker systems and found those from d&b to be most natural and neutral. This proved especially true when we compared them using typical miniature hairline microphones.”

Besides the main theatre installation NTC had previously invested in a mobile package for provincial tours purchasing J-Series, Q-Series and MAX monitors, a reflection of the wide variety of venues the company visits throughout the year.

“The inauguration ceremony took place in May 2011 but it was 2007 when we were first engaged on the project,” concluded Dai. “The installation of equipment began in late 2010 and the full system commissioning was completed mid 2011. The nation has waited quite a long time for this new drama venue, so there was clear directive from all sectors not to rush towards completion, but to take our time and make sure everything was done perfectly.”

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