Constructed in 1923-1924, the Rialto Theatre in Montreal was inspired by the Neo-baroque-style of the Paris Opera House, and has come to be recognized as one of the most iconic buildings in the city, designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.
The Louis XVI style interior was designed by Emmanuel Briffa, designer of more than 60 Canadian movie houses.
Despite its glorious design, the Rialto ceased operation as a cinema in 1990, and has since undergone many transformations. Over the year. all of the theatre seats were removed, and many failed conversion attempts were made—once even to convert it into a steakhouse.
After nearly 30 years of ownership, the building was sold in March 2010 to Le Groupe Merveilles, who indicated an intention to protect and restore its unique architecture, and by commencing restoration immediately after the purchase, their actions proved their objective to act as custodians of the historic Rialto.
Today the main floor supports 708 people in standing mode, 450 people in theatre row seating, and 350 in cabaret style seating, while the newly opened balcony holds an additional 450 seated people.
The new owners also wanted to re-vitalize the Rialto as a center for the performing arts, with a mission to give a platform to the emerging artists of the Montreal area and a specific focus on its home turf, the Mile End neighborhood, home to artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers such as Arcade Fire, Adam Gollner, Bran Van 3000, Grimes, Sean Michaels and Plants and Animals.
The technical upgrades include new Adamson Systems SpekTrix loudspeakers powered with Lab.gruppen PLM incorporating Dolby Lake processing.
In order to preserve architectural beauty and clean sightlines, the PA is ground-stacked, made up of four SpekTrix 5-degree boxes mounted atop a double 18-inch cardioid Sub to the left and right of the stage, and a single T21 Center sub on the floor level.
The balconies are covered by a second set of SpekTrix loudspeakers, specifically flown SpekTrix subs accompanied by three SpekTrix 5-degree boxes flown left and right.
The system also includes a Midas Heritage 3000 console at front of house and a Yamaha M7CL console for monitors, with microphones from Sennheiser and Shure.
On stage, ten Adamson M Series M12 and M15 wedges powered by Powersoft amplifiers offer flexible monitoring for the various styles of performers and events, such as live concerts, film, dance and theatrical performances taking the Rialto stage.
The system was designed by co-technical directors Drew Malamud and Laurent Magne. It was supplied by Adamson Canadian distributor Theatrixx of Montreal. which also provided support on the project.