Three Tenors in the Forbidden City
Tuesday, 17 July 2001
A Cadac J-Type Live Production Console was among the cast for the momentous Three Tenors Concert in Beijing's Forbidden City - the first ‘foreign’ event ever to be staged in this unique venue. Organised by the Chinese National Cultural and Arts, the concert took place on 23rd June 2001 - in front of a live audience of some 30,000 - and was broadcast to over three billion worldwide. A huge temporary stage was erected in front of the entrance to the Emperors' Palace, with the stage area encompassing 300m from front to back. The 72-input two-frame J-Type performed alongside Meyer Sound's new M3D line-array system, with the sound system attracting extensive praise for its quality and subtlety on this remarkable occasion. Sound engineering director, John Pellowe, is responsible for all technical aspects of the Three Tenors concerts, along with Alexander ‘Thorny’ Yuill-Thornton II, who handles the sound system design and system optimization.

Pellowe explained that the Forbidden City concert presented some unusual challenges: "I have been involved with the Three Tenors concerts from the very first one in 1990, and with Pavarotti since 1985 - reckoning to have faced just about every eventuality in all those years! But China was different - not least because of the difficulties presented by the language and the sometimes limited local resources. We are used to working with one major local sound supplier, which just was not feasible in China, and this did present us with some interesting issues. We knew that we would be using CCTVs [the Chinese broadcaster] J-Type, which was good news from the audio quality perspective and the ability to handle the whole show on just the one desk. But when we got our first look at it, our hearts literally sank, because it was black in colour, with not a trace of the customary Cadac gold to be seen! It had clearly been through some tough times, and we had concerns as to how it would perform. We needn't have worried, of course - being a Cadac, the electronics below the surface worked flawlessly and despite its looks, it sounded great. It's a real tribute to Cadac's engineering. We had terrific support from everyone at CCTV: they spared no expense - if we needed something, they simply went away and got it - and Cadac's local distributor, Hiroshi Systems, worked tirelessly to help us. A real bonus was being able to use CCTV's brand new power distribution system - with such a long site, we were worried about the possibility of contending with hum, but it was not an issue at all."

Latest Issue. . .