An audio system based around L-Acoustics’ Kara and new Syva collinear source system was recently chosen as the ideal solution for Dragone’s La Perle, an immersive production staged in a lavish, purpose-built, 1,300-seat theatre in the heart of the newly constructed Al Habtoor City in Dubai.
La Perle by Dragone is the Middle East’s first resident show, featuring a cast of 65 artists including acrobatics who perform aerial and aquatic stunts, flying through the air and diving into an on-stage pool.
Franco Dragone was one of the creative minds behind Cirque Du Soleil. In 2000, he set up his own company, the eponymously named Dragone, which has been responsible for some of the world’s greatest shows including Celine Dion’s Las Vegas residency, The Dai Show, The Han Show and The House of Dancing Water in China, Le Rêve in Las Vegas and Lido ? Paris Merveilles in France.
The L?Acoustics Kara system was chosen for its compact size, light weight and waterproof rating, while the new Syva colinear source system was selected as the perfect solution for a set piece that has space constraints.
Solotech has a long working relationship with the Dragone organisation, having collaborated on Dragone creations in the past, including The House of Dancing Water and Le Rêve. When La Perle was in its initial stages, Solotech’s integration division was introduced to Al habtoor by Dragone to provide integration support and equipment for the complete multi-channel sound reinforcement and video systems for the theatre, as well as all onsite installation supervision, labour, project management and logistics.
“Once we were appointed, the system design evolved along with the creation of the show,” said Bob Barbagallo, Solotech’s vice president, project development. “We had evaluated several products and proposed Kara for its clarity, intelligibility and compact, lightweight design, with the SB28s and SB18i subs selected for low end reinforcement and 12XTs added for high surround in the second ring. We also had several rigging challenges which Kara’s rigging system helped simplify during the installation.”
The main system over the wet stage comprises left, right and centre hangs of six Kara topped with an SB18 sub, plus two further hangs in the same configuration sitting either side of the proscenium to create a wide stereo image. Adjustments to the original design were made during the installation to take account of the reality of the theatre, ensuring clearance of winch lines and water effects, with the four LA4X and 19 LA8 amplified controllers driving the system located in a rack room to isolate them from moisture, whilst Kara’s IP55 rating affords it protection against the water jets.
During the installation, Dragone’s sound designer Sebastian Hammond needed to add an image to a set piece in the theatre that, architecturally, did not allow him much space to fit loudspeakers. “It was a small space and I needed a big image,” he recalled. “I was lucky that Syva became available at just the right time. It’s quite outstanding and was the ideal solution, its shape and compact size making it the perfect fit for the design limitations we had and the sound exceeded my expectations; it’s an exceptional sounding speaker with great power and clarity, we can get a throw of up to 30 metres, and it’s consistent with Kara, so we could use Syva to extend the image of the main system.”