Fourth St. Gallen Festspiele, Switzerland reinforced with d&b


The fourth St. Gallen Festspiele, including a classical open air opera, has earned its place among the finest of Swiss festivals and this year the production of Saint-Saëns’ 'Samson and Delilah' took centre stage in front of the unique backdrop of the Abbey of St. Gallen. Camille Saint-Saëns' rarely performed opera is shaped by the antithesis of power and powerlessness, sensual desire and a religious sense of duty. Samson and Delilah find themselves caught at the centre of the religious war between the Hebrews and Philistines, entwined in a turbulent fusion of love and power. Once again, the monastery courtyard at the Abbey of St.Gallen, a UNESCO world heritage site, is transformed into a magical theatre beneath an open sky.

In his work, Saint-Saëns presents grand choral scenes bearing all the hallmarks of Handel, with passionate arias and complex choreography. Stefano Vizioli, who enjoys international acclaim for his expressive musical stage direction, teamed up with stage artist Ferdinand Wögerbauer to take on the challenge of this classical French opera and capture the unique ambience of the monastery courtyard for the St. Gallen festival.

The monastery of St. Gallen is one of the few concert venues in Switzerland where the orchestra is positioned in an enclosed booth backstage, so sound has to be reinforced one hundred percent towards the audience. To pull off such a feat it's essential to have excellent sound quality, on a par with the carefully controlled acoustics in an auditorium. M&M Hire AG, together with Habegger AG, the contractor, and Daniel Meyer from 2M Audio GmbH (Ltd.), d&b audiotechnik's distributor in Switzerland, provided sound engineering and acoustics expertise at the open-air festival for the fourth time in a row, drawing on the proven quality of d&b audiotechnik products. Countless loudspeaker systems were installed in, on, in front of and behind the stage to fill the open air with the refined atmosphere of a real concert hall.

Apart from flying a d&b J-Series line array, eleven per side as the main system, several T10s were used in horizontal point-source mode for front fills; Q7 loudspeakers were positioned throughout the listening area for sound effects to replicate the acoustics and atmosphere of a virtual auditorium. For the first time at the St. Gallen Festival they were able to integrate C4 loudspeakers into the actual stage design making it possible to pinpoint the sound of the artists on the stage using positional sound delay techniques. Andreas Baumann, project director, said "Linking up everything through the d&b Remote network made it easy to handle the system which saved us loads of time." Frank Sattler, head of sound at the St. Gallen Theatre was impressed: "The entire system sounds absolutely natural and it works brilliantly, without having to make adjustments."

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