As in past years, the main stage of the Umbria Jazz show was this year hosted in the Santa Giuliana Arena, reaching record numbers of attendance and tickets sold. The festival, which has gained international recognition, required a system conceived especially for large live events. For this, RCF products from their TT+ series were chosen to fit the bill.
The performance by Lady Gaga with one of the “great voices” of American jazz, Tony Bennett, on stage at Santa Giuliana on 15 July, was one of the main events at the festival. The collaboration between the two singers originated from a friendship and artistic partnership that began in 2011 and led in 2014 to the release of the Cheek to Cheek album, winner of the Grammy Award.
The concert attracted a very diverse audience, with long-standing jazz aficionados and young fans of the eccentric popstar, that gathered under the same sky in the Santa Giuliana Arena. As Lady Gaga herself declared on Umbria Jazz’s stage: “You might be wondering what I’m doing here”. However the thousands of fans that arrived in the city of Perugia were surprised and enchanted by a show in which the duo performed together or individually, offering a unique interpretation of some of the best-known American and international jazz songs.
RCF interviewed Michele Mongiello, PA Manager of Santa Giuliana Arena, asking his opinion about the audio system, which was composed of 2 clusters of RCF TTL55-A (14 units each) as main reinforcement, 12 units of TTL33-A II as infill, 18 TTS56-A subwoofers on the ground and 6 units of TTL33-A II as sidefill and lipfill, for an optimal coverage of the first rows and sides.
The stage was also all RCF, with 8 units of TTP5-A and 2 TTS26-A subwoofers as stage sidefill, plus 16 TT25-SMA stage monitors — and as drumfill, 2 TT2-A speakers and 2 TTS26-A subwoofers.
Q: Michele, how did you find the RCF system?
Michele: “I was positively impressed by the whole TT+ Series. The system is practical to put together, easy to use andsimple to manage thanks to the RDNet system. The sound is nice and rich.”
Q: Tell us about the way you used RDNet.
Michele: “I think it’s a great advantage. It is a really nice tool that allows access to each single speaker for equalisation, delay or other necessary adjustments. It is very useful when working in areas as big as this, because it allows the multiplication of lines and signals to be avoided. Here at Santa Giuliana Arena we set the subs in cardioid configuration and digitally delayed them, creating a 100-degree arc. Moreover I used RDNet to slightly correct the speaker functionality, bearing in mind the distance that they had to cover, because high-end frequencies tend to be less crisp in these warm and windy days.”
Q: A wide range of diverse artists performed on stage, such as Italian band Subsonica, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Italian composer Paolo Conte, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, just to cite a few. What adjustments did sound engineers ask for?
Michele: “It is common for each sound engineer to have his specific needs and preferences. For instance the sound engineer of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga asked for an equalization on the high frequencies of the frontfill, to darken them slightly.”
Q: How did you get on with RCF TT25-SMA stage monitors?
Michele: “I had already used them on other occasions. I am satisfied, they were very flat and I managed to get the right frequency response by just opening the channel.”
The audio project was developed by the CTO of Umbria Jazz and CEO of Reference Laboratory, Angelo Tordini, together with RCF engineers. The common goal was to provide a very accurate result, ensuring an excellent sound quality to all seats at Santa Giuliana Arena.
“During the first night, when Paolo Conte was on stage, the RCF system performed very well with the musical texture of the composer, which was characterized by acoustic sounds and precise melodies,” states Mr. Tordini.
“Then, with the electronic band Subsonica, the style changed noticeably, and kept on varying during the following nights, with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, and many more. The RCF TT+ Series system proved to be versatile, powerful and high-quality, and was always up to the requirements of the artists on stage.”
The 2015 edition of Umbria Jazz ended with a bang, and the delighted organisers stating it had been a record year. For RCF the biggest success lays in the satisfaction of Umbria Jazz’s public and in meeting the the demands of artists who performed on the prestigious Santa Giuliana Arena stage. According to Herbie Hancock, Umbria Jazz is “the place where one should be at this time of the year”.