MediaMatrix in Muscat opera house

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

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Oman - More than a decade after Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman ordered the building of an opera house, his vision has finally became a reality. Work was recently completed on Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), which now stands opulently in the Shati-Al-Qurm district of the city as Oman's premier venue for musical arts and culture.

A special production of Turandot took place on the 1,000-seat venue's opening night, which was directed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli (who also designed the set) and conducted by Spanish tenor, Placido Domingo. Approximately 350 Italian performers were flown in especially on order of the Sultan, to create a musical night to remember.

At the beginning of this gargantuan build, a concrete shell was created and a team of 30 carpenters built a 1:5 scale model of the Sultan's vision, which was regularly subject to change.

Originally, the venue was to be known as the House of Musical Art, designed for orchestral and theatre productions, but it was eventually decided that opera was to take priority.

Local installer, Mustafa Sultan Enterprises, deployed five MediaMatrix NION n3s for ROHM: two for the show relay system, and three for general production audio feeds.

"The system needed to be absolutely discreet for the user, so we put two NIONs in to deal with show relay, feeding audio to the dressing room speakers and back of house, plus taking audio and putting it back out for recording," Northwood explains, "and another three NIONs to route all the various production audio feeds round to the various speakers and processors in the theatre. It's an integral part of the audio system, but entirely invisible, of course."

The NIONs send signal to all 70 of the auditorium's loudspeakers, using its fixed presets.

"Because the venue is meant for live sound, you tend to shy away from automation, so the NION's fixed presets do just what I want them to," he continues. "They are operated from a touch panel, then everything else is done live on the mixer. In a theatre environment, everything has to patch around and change because you don't know what show's coming in next; that's why the NIONs are such an important element of the installation."

(Jim Evans)


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