HSL At The Opera

HSL is again supplying a complete stage lighting and sound system to London’s high profile nine-week Opera Holland Park season. This year’s shows include The Merry Widow, Fedora, Manon Lescaut, Cosi Fan Tutte, Rigoletto, and The Queen of Spades. Each run two at a time for three weeks, and all accompanied by the Grammy-winning City of London Sinfonia.

The technical production is overseen and coordinated by the operations manager, Mike Harth, working closely with his team of technical staff including chief LX, Gary Cooper, deputy chief LX, Andreas Atkinson, and master carpenter, Brendan McEvoy.

HSL has supplied Opera Holland Park for the last four seasons, a job that’s managed by Sean McGlone. “They give us excellent service and a great deal,” comments Harth. Although effectively a dry hire, HSL sends a full crew to site, including a qualified electrician for the four week get-in and build period, which began in May.

A complete 830 capacity theatre and site infrastructure is constructed from scratch, built to the highest possible specifications, including backstage facilities and dressing rooms, plus the stage, auditorium, picnic/public areas, and front of house.

HSL are supplying approximately 150 lamps, a mix of Source Fours and Source Four Zooms, PARs, and fresnels plus Chroma Q scrollers for the FOH Source Fours. This year there’s also 12 moving lights, six Robe ColorSpot 1200 ATs, and six Martin Professional MAC 600s. The lighting desk is a Strand 520.

The FOH lamps are refocused for each production, but cannot be physically moved as they critically balance the mother grid. With the shows performed in rep, there is a limited amount of re-focus time available each night, so static elements are actually a bonus in this case.

There are over 140 ways of LightProcessor Paradime dimming in 36-way touring racks, plus a separate dimmer dealing with all the site lighting.

The latter includes festoons, sodiums and floods utilized to light walkways and picnic areas as well as for more decorative elements like architectural lighting of stone work and trees. HSL also supplies all cabling and mains.

Audio-wise, HSL supplied six Community Solution Series 915 speakers, which are installed across the main trussing grid in the auditorium. These can be utilized for the show if conditions get challenging (e.g. heavy rain storms), but the operas are all sung without amplification and the orchestra plays acoustically, so the audio system is very much a back-up plan.

However, the Yamaha M2500 console does run all the site announcements and the public address system, so has a vital role in the big picture. It’s fully backed up by battery to meet the licensing requirements, and all the equipment is also on UPS’s. Sound is run through a limiter to keep the levels below 80dB.

The console’s main show role is delivering spot sound effects in specific productions, and there are two Denon CD decks, a cassette deck and a Sony mini disk player available for source material.

HSL is also supplying a variety of mics and a wedge foldback system utilized for piano rehearsals in addition to a selection of waterproof speakers for the public address system.

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