Britannia Row Productions has provided a Midas XL8 live performance system for an open air production of Aida, part of the Masada, Dead Sea and Jerusalem Opera Festival in June.
Verdi’s opera was performed against the stunning backdrop of Mount Masada, Israel, by the Israel Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Oren, with the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir. At front of house was engineer Richard Sharratt, veteran of many classical and operatic concerts, and a fan of the XL8 for his productions. “I always enjoy using the XL8 as the sound quality next to none, the EQ and dynamics are powerful and natural, and there is great versatility of control by using POP(ulation) groups," he says.
FOH engineer Richard Sharratt with the Midas XL8 at Aida, Masada
BRP’s system tech Josh Lloyd has also worked with the XL8 on many gigs and festivals, and found the system’s flexibility came into its own for the five Masada performances, which required a different way of working. “The automation is fantastic on the XL8, and we were using it to far more of its potential than in the past,” he says. “We were reassigning VCA groups from scene to scene, always keeping the appropriate principles from a section of the opera in front of us on the surface, as well as using the automation to update audio parameters between scenes. We also used the midi in scenes to fire outboard and a sidecar console we were using due to the very high channel count of144 channels. Using all these elements of the automation meant that once the show was up and running we could concentrate on mixing the audio.
“We also benefited from using the XL8’s integral AES50 network to route audio from point to point between the DL451 I/O units, so we could use it as a backup to the main returns and comms systems which was very in a very hostile environment.
“The XL8 was a great choice for this gig due primarily its superior audio quality,” concludes Lloyd. “Opera goers are very particular about audio quality and are traditionally used to hearing it unamplified, so it needed to sound as natural as possible. The XL8 was also a good choice for the harsh environment of the desert, being extremely reliable and able to survive with the heat and dust. A good decision all round.”