The National Theatre of Costa Rica (Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica) is one of the country’s most beloved buildings, brimming with cultured operas, concerts, and dance, and it now features a new high-end sound reinforcement system carefully integrated within its historic infrastructure.
Located in the central section of San Jose, the National Theatre opened to the public in 1897 with a performance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust.
Since then it has hosted many of the great theatre companies of the world, as well as famous musicians, artists and classical orchestras, along with attaining national monument status.
Designed by architects from Italy, Spain and France, the interior is filled with incredible art and souring ceilings, highlighted by a three-story horseshoe-shaped auditorium that seats 1,040 people.
It offers a classic “opera house” configuration, with a main floor of seating surrounded by second floor private viewing boxes, balcony, and gallery (second balcony).
The wide front stage is framed by a proscenium, with orchestra seating beginning immediately in front of the stage.
The theatre had been outfitted with a small sound reinforcement system several years ago, but it wasn’t designed to support the needs of modern, non-operatic performances, and it also supplied rather poor coverage.
National Theatre Technical Director Claudio Schifani began discussions about an upgraded system with Virgilio Azofeifa and Elias Arias of RSTV, a leading sound company based in San Jose.
The primary challenge facing the system design and installation team was integrating the new, full-range system within the architecture and aesthetic of the auditorium, while attaining the desired coverage and full-range performance to all seating areas.
With this in mind, the team favored an approach utilizing compact line arrays with a small physical footprint flown to the left and right of the proscenium to deliver the majority of coverage, supplemented by strategic application of compact loudspeakers for specific areas.
The Adamson Systems Metrix Series of compact line arrays held promise in meeting these needs, with Azofeifa noting, “Metrix cabinets were chosen as they offer most power and best coverage of all cabinets in their category, in addition to not creating an undesirable image as an install in a theatre where minimal visual distraction is required on top of a harmonic aesthetic.”