The 31st annual Ravenna Festival, which kicked off June 21 and continues to July 30, looks much different this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, with the organizers working with BH Audio on implementing a d&b audiotechnik Soundscape immersive system to give revitalize the event and give it a new dimension.
The summer festival, held in the city of Ravenna, Italy and the surrounding area, is noted for presenting exceptional opera and classical music performces. This year, a significant part of the program is taking place in the open air of the Brancaleone Fortress in the center of Ravenna, where about 300 people can enjoy the shows live.
“This is our most important festival yet, people in Italy and around the world have been waiting months to experience the joy of live music,” says Giulia Artemisia Nicosia of BH Audio, which supplied the audio system for the festival.
For those who miss out of the coveted seats at the leve event, almost all of the concerts are also being streamed online. For the audience as well as the performers, temperature checks and masks are in full effect.
“We knew we needed a system that would provide the audiences — no matter where they were — with a truly immersive sound experience and d&b Soundscape was the only way to do that,” Nicosia states. “One of the main challenges for the orchestra was the distance between them — which of course has a huge impact on the sound — in order to combat this, we used the virtual acoustic shell with Soundscape to help the musicians hear to each other and simulate better acoustics on stage.”
Two DS100 processors with the d&b Soundscape software plus more than 60 d&b loudspeakers are employed for the live concerts: one for the audience and one to create the “virtual acoustic shell” for the musicians. A third DS100 is being used for the streaming service to create an enhanced mix for the stereo stream. En-Scene is utilized to virtually position the objects in the stereo mix, while En-Space simulates the 360-degree coverage at the venue to create the “concert hall acoustics” through an ambisonic plugin.
“We are using a 360-degree En-Scene setup in the venue, which combined with En-Space, helps us to recreate the acoustics of different rooms depending on the type of performance,” explains Nicosia. “For example, we used the newly acquired 9th room San Vitale, the cathedral, for sacred music, while for the orchestra on the opening concert we used the classical large room which in an open-air environment. The effect that we can achieve outdoors with En-Space really are a game-changer.”