Celebrated actor Chaim Topol returned to the stage as Tevye, the central character of Fiddler on the Roof, for a series of rare performances in Australia and New Zealand. For sold-out performances at the Civic Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand, tour management selected locally based Oceania Audio to provide sound reinforcement, and Oceania chose to supply a self-powered system based on Meyer Sound’s MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker.
“The Civic Theatre is quite sizeable, nearly 2,400 seats, with a very large balcony section that comprises about two-thirds of the overall seating, so you have to almost split the P.A. into two separate systems,” says Richard Baker, who shared sound design duties with Oceania Audio’s Peter Hughes. “Plus, the design of the proscenium arch gave us limited space to hang speakers from.
“The biggest challenge was to make the show sound natural, versus sounding amplified or overly produced,” adds Baker. “The story is so important, particularly the nuances of the dialog and jokes between Topol and the other principals. We wanted the audience to be able to catch it all.”
Baker and Hughes used Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction software to map out the historic theater's unusual configurations, and then used the program to determine optimal speaker placement. To cover the theater’s extensive balcony, they hung two arrays comprised of six MILO loudspeakers and one M3D-Sub directional subwoofer each. Four MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers covered the lower balcony. A center cluster of four flown UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers proved essential to the overall design. “The center cluster was definitely the linchpin that held our system together,” says Hughes. “It made the audience feel as if they were right there by the stage.”
In the lower section, two CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers were mounted behind the proscenium to cover the stalls (orchestra seating), while a 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofer and a UPA-2P compact narrow coverage loudspeaker were positioned at the far left and right sides of the stage to provide fill for the first few rows. Four M1D compact curvilinear array loudspeakers covered the area under the balcony.
“One of the things I really appreciated about the Meyer Sound speakers was their quality right out of the box,” says Hughes. “Their products have such a natural sound to them before they’re even tuned. Instead of spending hours equalizing, we were able to concentrate on more important issues with the design.”
Baker adds, “Using the Meyer gear made our job much easier. With us having to step in midway through the production when it arrived at the Civic Theatre, having a seamless rig ready to go was a huge advantage.”
For more information, visit www.meyersound.com.