LA Opera Primed for Return to In-Person Performances with Allen & Heath Avantis
May 26, 2021
James Conlon conducts the LA Opera Orchestra in a rehearsal for Oedipus Rex. Photo Credit Larry Ho
Article originally posted by Stage Directions Magazine
Marking the company’s first indoor performance in over a year, LA Opera will present the company premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 6, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. A video presentation of the opera will subsequently stream on LA Opera’s digital platform, also free of charge, beginning June 17. An Allen & Heath Avantis was chosen to mix both of these special events, accompanied by a DX32 modular expander outfitted with PRIME preamp modules to deliver next-level audio quality.
“This type of highly exposed orchestral setting is exactly what PRIME was designed to tackle,” notes Allen & Heath USA Marketing Director Jeff Hawley. “Most preamps are based on AC coupled stages, while PRIME offers a DC coupled gain stage which eliminates LF distortion you’d get in AC coupling. This greatly improves low frequency linearity and phase response. In a great hall with world class performers, these sonic benefits become even more apparent.” Compatible with SQ, Avantis and dLive (via the DX32 modular expander), each individual PRIME channel is fine-tuned by hand for optimum common mode performance. In this case, the PRIME preamps feed into a 64 channel / 42 configurable bus Avantis, powered via its 96kHz XCVI FPGA core.
“The Avantis is a perfect console for the performing arts,” adds Grammy Award-winning engineer Fred Vogler. “It is easy to use, extremely flexible with routing, a nice size and sounds great! The demands of opera and ‘live’ production require technology that works well with all of the ‘oh, by the way’ requests. Things are much easier—especially with productions as complex as LA Opera’s Oedipus Rex—with smart technology like Avantis from A&H.”
Created during Stravinsky’s ‘neoclassical period,’ Oedipus Rex is a highly stylized, ritualistic work the composer described as an ‘opera-oratorio’ to be staged with minimal movement. In a unique staging twist, a narrator describes the action throughout the course of the opera. Actor, comedian, and author Stephen Fry has been confirmed to provide the narration for both the in-person and cinematic version of the LA Opera production. The innovative staging also features projected animations created by Manual Cinema, an Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio and film/video production company. It will be conducted by Music Director James Conlon and star LA Opera’s Artist in Residence Russell Thomas as Oedipus, his fourth leading role with the company.
“The energy and excitement at rehearsals is palpable,” said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera President and Chief Executive Officer. “Everyone at the company—from the performers who have been largely silenced by this pandemic to the backstage staff—is elated at the prospect of performing before a live audience inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion once again, especially given their extraordinary support during the shutdown.” Strict safety precautions will be in effect for everyone in attendance.