Celebrating its milestone 80th season this year, Pageant of the Masters is an annual summer festival where life truly does imitate art.
Staged at the 2,700-seat Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach, the Festival of Arts event is best known for its “tableaux vivants” in which classical and contemporary works of art are recreated onstage through an elaborate mix of costumed models, props, backdrops and lighting.
This year’s production, known as “Genius,” focused on the works of numerous visionaries like Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, and Leonardo da Vinci. But the visual aspect of the event was only half of the story.
Accompanying the 90-minute show of “living pictures” each night throughout July and August were a professional narrator, vocalists singing period pieces, and a 30-member live orchestra, all sonically reinforced via new L-Acoustics KARA line arrays.
Irvine-based Micworks, which has been the outdoor festival’s audio consultant for the past two decades, supplied the L-Acoustics amplifier and loudspeaker package for the amphitheater.
Hung from 20-foot truss towers on each side of the stage, left and right arrays were comprised of nine KARA enclosures flown beneath three SB18 subs, all collectively powered by a total of four LA8 amplified controllers.
“Every single night of Pageant of Masters’ eight-week run is packed, with most shows selling out even before the season begins,” says Micworks president Michael Troke. “This production has grown so popular because the entire staff dedicates itself to pushing the envelope of excellence further each year.
“Certainly one of the ways they did that this season was by choosing the KARA system, which provided a new level of pristine clarity and detail. Everyone from the director to the music composers to the audience commented on the dramatic improvement in sound this year,” Troke continues. “Jeff Deckner, the Pageant’s front-of-house engineer, personally told me that KARA’s accuracy and musicality felt like we put a pair of studio monitors in front of each of the 2,700 seats.”
“In previous years, we’ve had to position some small enclosures along the front of the orchestra pit for front-fill, plus some additional reinforcement at the back of the amphitheater to fully cover the rather long and narrow bowl seating,” he adds. “But with just the two L-Acoustics arrays this year—even though we spread them quite wide—the sound pressure level from front to back was so smooth and consistent that those systems were no longer necessary.
“Using L-Acoustics products always makes my job easier. I know that when the system is up and running, I’m going to look good, which, in turn, makes my clients look good. It’s always an exciting win-win situation for everyone, and this year’s Pageant of the Masters was a fantastic example of that.”