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opera with orchestra on stage
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

Thread Starter
opera with orchestra on stage

Dear all,

I am conducting a wonderful opera (Orpheus by Telemann) in a staged version where the orchestra plays on stage and is part of the set/decor, as such that singers are playing in between the instrumentists etc.

It will be recorded by friends of mine (video), but I will be placing the microphones on beforehand during rehearsals to make a balance.
I attach a photo of the set and what I had in mind of doing. The stage director does not want any microphones or cables on stage (there is a lot of dancing involved) and hanging microphones is not an option because of other things coming down (disco ball, lights etc.).

At either side of the stage there are balconies where I could extend a very wide pair of DPA 4006s on boom poles. To cover the gap in the middle, I had thought about two DPA 4011s (or also 4006s?) on stands before the stage (I checked with the director, should be no problem, the first row of seats is not sold).
I bought a stereo set of 4060s with all accessories, which I would use to cover the back of the scene. Left side next to the orchestra seats, other side hidden behind the 'bed', hoping that this will work well (I have no experience with boundary microphones so far).
For the orchestra, given that some players are sitting behind that balcony wall and thus will not be covered enough by the mains, I would probably need to spot at least the violin section (behind the wall, no problem) and another microphone deeper on stage for the last rows where the choir is sitting as well.

What do you guys think?
The acoustics in the opera hall are quite good actually (also balance-wise), woud a stereo microphone in the room be of any use? I could hang a mid-side AT4050st for instance.

Thanks for any input, premiere is next week Friday, so I have enough time to think things through and enough rehearsal days to try and adapt!

Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Addict
jimjazzdad's Avatar
Wow. That is quite a challenge both because of the limitations on mic placement and the depth of the stage in relation to the width. Not to mention the 'orchestra' off to one side like that. Where you show the CM3 spot mics, is it possible to get a stereo pair (e.g. NOS or ORTF) boomed out over the orchestra from a large stand hidden in the wings? For the front of the stage, boundary mics would work or maybe you could rig a wire between the Juliet balconies on either side of the stage and hang some mics? As this is outside the proscenium arch, you are unlikely to have any conflicts with flown disco balls, etc.

Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

Thread Starter
Thanks for the quick response!
Boundaries in front were my first thought, but the singers go until the very last inch of the stage, which is why I opted for two stands in front of the stage.
A wire in front is impossible (orders from the director) because of light and projections........ Grmbl.......
The CM3 spots could indeed be a pair above the orchestra, good suggestion. If the light does not get in the way. Will check :-)
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Addict
jimjazzdad's Avatar
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
...Boundaries in front were my first thought, but the singers go until the very last inch of the stage, which is why I opted for two stands in front of the stage.
Yes, you would definitely want some kind of armour for your nice DPAs used as boundary mics if the singers work right up to the lip of the stage! Stands are safer, if the director doesn't mind.
Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Sounds like a great would be great to do justice to it, even with the many limitations of the director.

Mirror ball, tell me, is it imperative that it must spin ? I'm guessing it might be used only in very limited periods of the performance, otherwise it gets boring very quickly for the audience (it's different if you're out there underneath it, in a club, dancing to 70's disco music !)

I tell you, if I was given that mirror ball overnight, it would reappear above the stage next morning looking virtually untouched, but.... I would do a complete FBI mic job on !

If you could get a Schoeps KFM-6 and stick mirrors on it, you could substitute it for the mirror ball....but no, because the ball has to turn.

I can think of another way of getting a spaced pair of omnis (if you can get hold of the tiny DPA 4000 series) in virtually an optimal attaching stiff, thin wire (similar to steel coat-hanger) to the suspension of the mirror ball and then they would hang down on each side of the mirror ball, about 2 cms from the outer edge, left and right.

Then you just have to run a long stereo pair of mic cables from the ceiling above down to the mirror ball....see mirror ball picture, with badly drawn wire and DPA mics each side. They would remain stationary, even while the ball rotates.....

If the director will let you hang many smaller mirror balls above the stage, to enhance the effect, then you have multiple locations for suspended mics !

However, as Jim mentions and your photo shows, you ideally need multiple mic locations to cover the moving singers, and another pair at least covering the orchestra.

Really only PZM or turtle-shell covered (as photo) SD mics or else radio mics on the main singers are going to pick them up well ?
Attached Thumbnails
opera with orchestra on stage-s_kfm6_2.jpg   opera with orchestra on stage-mirrorball-dpa-mics.jpg  
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