By Ken DeLoria • January 20, 2014 A scene from Invisible Cities at Union Station. Theatrical productions have been staged in many forms and venues over the years, ranging from traditional proscenium arch theatres to outdoor Shakespearian-inclined stages, from theaters-in-the-round to “black boxes,” and plenty more. But I recently checked out something altogether different, a new avant-garde opera production entitled Invisible Cities that was staged inside the general transit area of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The show, which ran twice nightly for about a month late last year, was the result of a cooperative effort among production company The Industry, the Los Angeles Dance Project, and Sennheiser, which worked closely with rental company Bexel ASG. The latter pair comprised the technical pivot point in this ambitious project, providing a transformation from initial concept into working reality of what was billed as the first “headphone” opera. Putting It Together The concept is radical and challenging. The staging of the Invisible Cities is based on the cast moving throughout the train station during the performance, while the audience members follow them as they wish. But first you have to find them…and that’s not easy. Artistic director Yuval Sharon instructing the wireless-equipped cast at a dress rehearsal. The opera is based on a 1972 novel by Italo Calvino. The narrative, accompanied by a musical score from an 11-piece live orchestra located in a remote room, took audience members on a multi-sensory journey throughout the terminal as the lead character, legendary traveler Marco Polo, described his quests to Emperor Kublai Khan. Yuval Sharon is the artistic director who conceived of this work and brought it to life. When we spoke, he expressed a profound desire to blend everyday life with artistic expression. He talked about how the headphone experience would bring a new element into play. Initially, he was not fully convinced that headphones were the key so he explored, perhaps in the same vein as Marco Polo, and came up with a means of delivering this all-new form of theatrical content. The Sennheiser- and Neumann-miked orchestra performing in a remote room. Advanced wireless technology played a huge role in bringing the production to life. There were no loudspeakers; the audio was delivered to the audience via Sennheiser model HDR-120 wireless consumer headphones, and to the performers via Sennheiser 2000 series IEM systems, which handled in-ear monitoring duties for each of the singers and dancers, helping ensure their performances were in lock step with the musical score. Read the rest of this post 1 2 3 About Ken Ken DeLoria Senior Technical Editor, Live Sound International Magazine Over the course of more than four decades, Ken DeLoria has tuned hundreds of sound systems, and as the founder of Apogee Sound, he developed the TEC Award-winning AE-9 loudspeaker. Comments Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Tagged with: Antennas Applications Concerts Ken Deloria Microphones Techniques Wireless Systems · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Live Sound International brings you information on a wide range of pro audio topics. Stay up-to-date, get expert tips, industry news, new products and technologies delivered. Discover how to make smart use of today’s sound technology, Subscribe Today!