It’s the very soundtrack to war — at least, many of the wars in movies. Verdi’s Requiem, noted for its virtuosic vocal solos and dramatic orchestral flows, came to life in front of thousands of classical music fans at the French venue Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with a little help from L-Acoustics.
The concert, which took place July 12th, was part of a series from the Orchestre National de Lille and Choeur Régional Hauts-de-France which aims to bring classical music to the widest audience possible. A 30,000-seat venue like Lille’s — usually a soccer club — is a fitting venue for large attendance, but a difficult one for natural sound design.
For this special stadium performance of Verdi’s Requiem, François Bou, managing director of the Orchestre National de Lille consulted L-Acoustics founder Christian Heil. According to L-Acoustics, Heil’s team custom-designed an L-ISA immersive sound system to face the hurdle of delivering the power of a world-renowned orchestra to the entire audience, all while preserving the emotional and artistic intensity of the performance.
The Natural Sound Challenge for Verdi’s Requiem
Central to the system’s design is the desire to deliver ‘what you see is what you hear’ to each spectator at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, effectively putting the audience into the sweet spot occupied traditionally by Orchestre National de Lille conductor Jean-Claude Casadesus.
“Our challenge was to put on a classical music performance for 13,000 people in a football stadium… but make it sound like an acoustical performance in an intimate venue,” explains ONL Front of House engineer François Gabert, who worked with Frédéric Blanc-Garin, sound engineer for the project.
“When L-Acoustics told us that they had a product that could dramatically improve the experience for the audience, Fred and I were intrigued.”
L-ISA, which stands for Immersive Sound Art, is an immersive audio technology combining L-Acoustics’ sound design and loudspeaker systems with processing tools to create a hyperrealistic soundscape at live shows.
L-ISA head of applications Sherif El Barbari studied the Stade Pierre Mauroy closely and made a model of it in L-Acoustic’s Soundvision software before proposing a system comprised of seven hangs of nine Kara stretched across the stage for hyper-localized sound.
A mirror system of seven ground stacks of two Kiva II each across the stage lip provided front fill, while two hangs of eight K2 served as outfill and two central hangs of four KS28 subwoofers rounded out the low end.
The entire system was driven by LA8 and LA12X amplified controllers. An L-ISA Controller provided an advanced object-based multichannel environment for the event.
“We found the L-ISA controller very simple to use,” François says. “Once the sources are placed in their space, the mixing is fairly conventional and any adjustments within the software during the concert were quick and easy.”
Impact on the Performance
It was the system’s clarity and natural sound feeling which most impressed François. “The greatest compliment that I could receive would be for someone to ask me after a concert if there was any sound reinforcement,” François continues. “Given the results we obtained at the Stade, I’m convinced that in a more traditional environment, the audience wouldn’t know that there was any sound reinforcement at all.”
“We are proud to be working with Jean-Claude Casadesus and the Orchestre National de Lille again,” enthuses Christian Heil. “We are excited to have deployed our newest creation to help them offer an authentic and immersive concert experience.”