Rome, Italy (August 10, 2021)—Concerts are often held outdoors, but these days, opera tends to be performed in an opera house—or at least it was until the pandemic. When an immersive production of Puccini’s Tosca was staged in the courtyard of Palazzo Farnese in Northern Italy’s city of Piacenza, it provided necessary social distancing of the audience and performers, but also provided an opportunity to bring the audience into the time of Napoleonic Rome through the use of projection mapping around the facade of the courtyard used for the staging. Also helping create the immersive audio environment was an Outboard TiMax system and a number of Point Source Audio CO-8WL omnidirectional waterproof lavalier microphones.
“Point Source Audio’s CO-8WL offered many strengths for this production,” explained sound designer and mixing engineer Federico Bianchi. “First and foremost was the quality and the linearity of the sound. I needed to make very few adjustments to the timbre of the microphones, which were already ‘flat’, and able to preserve all the dynamics and colors in the singers’ voices. In addition, the mic size and shape made them invisible to the audience, while allowing useful positioning and precise capture.”
Performers wore the microphones on the forehead or on the ear, depending on the hairstyles and the stage needs. “In both cases, the result was excellent right from the start,” said Bianchi. “The mics allowed me to make the most of the amplification and provide good monitoring on stage (which was needed given the distances) despite the omnidirectional characteristics of the microphones and the proximity of the monitors in some scenes. Another important capability of the capsules was the resistance to external agents such as humidity, water, sweat and makeup, a fundamental aspect considering the positioning and the climatic conditions faced, from the afternoon heat to the high humidity in the evening.”
The end result was a production that Bianchi is rightly proud of. “In all of the rehearsals and during both performances on stage, there were never any problems,” he stated. “The sound performance remained the same, proving the excellent qualities of the microphones.”