A DiGiCo SD7T mixing console has been installed at the Helsinki Opera House following an increased demand for a more robust mixing system.
The upgrade was planned when the Finnish National Opera was given the rare opportunity to stage a completely original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. Sound designers Sakke Kiiskis and Stanley Lönnquists felt that the current system at the Opera House could not match their vision. This is the first time that Phantom of the Opera has been staged in Finland. The scale of the production has meant it features the largest ensemble of soloists, chorus members and dancers ever seen on stage in the country. The production features a 40 piece orchestra and 44 singers with microphones.
“We have a long relationship with DiGiCo and believe their T consoles are the best and most flexible for musical theatre,” said Santtu Sipilä, who designed and installed the updated audio system. “We previously installed SD7Ts in Helsinki’s Swedish Theatre and City Theatre, as well as specifying them for the production of Kristina från Duvemåla in the Göteborg Opera and the Cirkus arena in Stockholm, Sweden. We have also used an SD10T in the Tampere Theater, southern Finland.”
Santtu worked with Reima Saarinen on the design for Finnish National Opera, specifying a DiGiCo SD7T with EX007 extender wing and six SD-Racks on twin optical loops, plus a Waves SoundGrid system. “The main challenge was to fulfil all the needs of a modern opera house,” he said. “The venue works in two shifts and there are usually two productions per day in the main hall. For example a classic opera piece will be performed in the morning, then a musical with fully miked orchestra in the evening.
“To accommodate this kind of workload – which also requires backing tracks, effects and virtual sound checking – we use every channel on the SD7T. Both optical loops, Waves and the EX007 are in everyday use. One of the many advantages of the SD7T is that on the larger musicals we can have two operators on the console – one for the orchestra and one doing the vocals.”
“The overall flexibility of the SD7T has been a great asset to us,” said Petteri Laukkanen, Deputy Head of Stage at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. “The ability to recall complete console and routing setups has provided us with great logistical advantages, as we change things between shows on a very tight schedule. Features like SD7’s theatre software, virtual sound-check capabilities and in-system audio routing to our TV production system, allow us to carry out complex productions with pristine audio quality, in a simple and effective manner.”