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Multi-million euro revamp of Opéra Royal de Wallonie calls for L-Acoustics KIVA

The completion of a two-year restoration project at Belgium's the Opéra Royal de Wallonie saw the venue reopen at the end of 2012, complete with an L-Acoustic KIVA line array system.

A €31million renovation project at the Théatre Royal de Liège, Belgium, which is home of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie (ORW), has seen the installation of a L-Acoustics sound reinforcement system.

The overall renovation project took two years to complete with the doors at the Théatre Royal de Liège eventually reopening at the end of 2012.

Heading up the audio aspect to the renovation as far back as 2008 was Belgium-based Riva Audio, which were appointed by Putman – the main contractor for the renovation work – to install a system for the 1,440-capacity theatre.

“The big challenge was to persuade the city officials and opera management to place new audio gear in a classified nineteenth century building – they wanted the venue to be ‘sound reinforcementless’,” commented Frédéric Vard, managing director of Riva Audio.

“For example, it took us quite some negotiations with the governments’ Monuments and Landscape Department to obtain permission to place the speaker cabinets.” XLR sprl, a distributor within the L-Acoustics Certified Provider Network for Belgium, collaborated with Riva Audio for the installation.

The need for a modern, flexible and efficient audio system was underpinned by the theatre’s management plan to make multifunctional use of the building. Alongside the ORW’s performances, the theatre would host conferences, gatherings and concerts. The venue’s iron safety curtain, compulsory in this category of theatres, was equipped with a projection screen on the audience’s side to facilitate the projection of movies.

The chosen system centres on an L-Acoustics KIVA line-array solution comprising 20 KIVA cabinets – two columns of six KIVA in front of the curtain and two columns of four KIVA to serve the lower seats – plus eight SB18 and 14 8XTi as in fill. The arrays were installed on either side of the subtitling projection beam above the stage, before the stage curtains.

The installation of the line-arrays and cables followed thorough research and design, with Riva Audio presenting a complete construction document indicating the placement of loudspeaker cabinets within the constraints of the ancient building.

Vard made use of the stage level boxes in the theatre to install two columns of four KIVA serving the lower seating of the theatre. The whole venue was cabled with Cat6 fibre optics, replacing the ‘traditional’ microphone cables. “Installing Soundcraft stageboxes for the signal transfer from the stage to the Soundcraft Vi 4 console was a crucial measure – in an opera environment, noiseless connections are essential throughout the system,” finished Vard.