The Royal Opera House in London – one of the world’s leading opera and ballet theatres – has installed a Gemini intercom system from Trilogy. The new system, which replaces an in-house development, reaches technical staff in all parts of the main auditorium.
Unlike a conventional theatre intercom, which uses an open ring system, the complexity of opera and ballet productions requires technical communications to be addressable. Gemini allows panels in any part of the theatre, using programmable keys to call other users as required. It also interfaces with conventional intercom equipment such as headsets and radio packs.
“The stage manager can talk to assistants over four channels of radio as well as crew up in the flys, and the lighting operator can talk to follow-spot operators in the dome,” explained Steven Zissler, sound and broadcast manager at the Royal Opera House. “We can also put panels anywhere on the stage we need for crew involved in operating stage machinery.”
One of the challenges in the installation was that the new technology needed to operate over existing multi-core cables, as there was no time during the theatre’s annual two week dark period to install new cabling.
The system was installed in August 2012, and included 12 conventional 24 Lever Key Panels reconfigured to run on DC power, four touch desktops connected to the system over IP to allow them to be located and relocated with ease, and 17 bespoke ruggedised stations designed to take the day-to-day punishments of vulnerable locations such as rigging. All elements of the system run on a network of three Gemini intercom matrices connected using Trilogy’s proprietary High Speed Link (HSL) which provides a redundant audio pathway.
“Behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House there is constant pressure, in a theatre that might be rehearsing a ballet during the day and staging an opera in the evening,” explained Mark Ellis of Trilogy. “With the standard capabilities of our Gemini system we could deliver the core functionality they required, and we were able to customise it where necessary, for instance to provide a stage manager’s panel that is effectively identical to the one it replaced. This is a great project for us, and we are delighted to be associated with the Royal Opera House.”