DPA Mics in 'Mega-Opera' Spectacular
Friday, 16 November 2001
A cast of hundreds, with armies, horses, camels and even an eagle: this was the ‘mega-opera’ spectacular ‘Aida’ staged for a sell-out crowd of 78,000 at the Stade de France in Paris. The huge circular football stadium, home to the last World Cup, is an unusual setting for Verdi’s monumental opera, but Dutch production company Companions Opera took full advantage of the 75m x 120m pitch, presenting a 130-piece choir, the 90-piece Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, and more than 550 extras.

Louis Buskens was responsible for the choir (from the Sofia Opera House in Bulgaria), who would be moving around as well as singing during the performance. The job of choreography was critical because of the microphone technique: a DPA 4061 miniature mic was mounted on the shoulder of every fourth choir member, for his or her own voice and that of three other singers. So they had to stay in formation in groups of 4 throughout the performance.

A total of 36 DPA 4061s were allocated to the choir, with a further 16 for the eight soloists, who each wore a spare transmitter. All the electronics were from Sennheiser, and the soloists were also equipped with in-ear monitoring systems. "It’s the only possible solution in the open air," explained Buskens. "When all the staging is outdoor, with the public all around, the wireless miniatures give us more opportunities in terms of presentation and stage direction. The DPA mics are very good indeed, and I am very satisfied with the results we get."

The DPA miniature microphones were supplied by Stagepro of the Netherlands, which has a large inventory of more than 60 DPA 4060s and 4061s, with additional support from Bernard Scyeur at RF Transmission. The PA system for the event was V-DOSC and dV-DOSC from L-Acoustics, with Innovason and Soundcraft digital consoles for the front-of-house engineer and sound designer Guy Desroschers, and Stan Taal, a former recording engineer for Philips Classics, who was mixing the orchestra.

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