The South African State Theatre’s Opera House has recently opened its doors to new musical genres, in particular jazz, and needed a new audio system that could meet the varied demands now placed on it.
At the end of last year, an L‑Acoustics Kara system was installed, bringing the Opera House’s audio bang up to date with a solution that can handle the diversity of productions the theatre hosts in a rider-friendly format.
Originally opened in 1981, the South African State Theatre was the major force behind establishing the performing arts in South Africa and is a national flagship. It has six theatres sited on the huge State Theatre complex in Pretoria. The Opera House is the largest of these and has always been the country’s premier opera venue, as well as hosting a wide variety of theatre productions.
The design and installation of the Opera House’s new system was performed by Richard Smith with technical support from L‑Acoustics application engineer Julien Laval and was commissioned by him in November 2017.
“The original brief came via a tender which had a general specification from the theatre,” says Smith. “All the major manufacturers pitched for it and we were lucky enough to be awarded the contract.”
The system comprises 24 Kara with eight SB18i as left / right hangs, five ARCS II as the centre cluster, two X12 as in-fill, six 5XT as front-fill and four ground-stacked SB28 subs. The system runs on LA8 and LA4X amplified controllers.
The first show to use the new system was Capital Singers, the biggest community choir project on the African continent. The show has an orchestra consisting of a 12-piece string section, four-piece brass section, concert grand piano, full rhythm section, and complete orchestra percussion section, but the main attraction is the 650-member choir supported by professional solo vocalists.
“The December 2017 show was the 10th project for Capital Singers,” says Stephen Kruger, Capital Singers’ FOH engineer. “There were three sold out shows and it was an absolute pleasure using the newly installed L‑Acoustics system. Having a good system in the venue with 52 open microphones – including 16 hanging mics for the choir – made my life so easy.”