L-Acoustics ‘flies high’ with Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna

An L-Acoustics Kara sound system was selected for Amaluna – a 20th anniversary celebration of Cirque du Soleil productions at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Amaluna ran from mid-January to early March and is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The production’s head of sound, François Lanteigne, has mixed over 200 shows in the venue and was confident that L-Acoustics could tame its challenging acoustics. He worked with Britannia Row Productions and fellow system designer Pierre Sanschagrin to map the system using L-Acoustics Soundvision software and created a customised Kara sound system for the show.

“Amaluna features a powerful musical score that’s more rock infused than most Cirque productions. I’ve worked with L-Acoustics systems for over 12 years now, and after hearing L-Acoustics Kara at different concerts, I knew it would be perfect for this show,” said Sanschagrin. “Kara delivers a very precise focus on the vocalists, but without compromising the power to size ratio. The rest of the mix was very easy to translate into the configuration required to achieve that.”

The main system is comprised of six hangs of 12 Kara, with two SB18 subs on two of the arrays and two stacks of three ARCS Focus as floor fills for the seating area directly around the stage. System amplification is via LA8s, which also handle the processing and EQ.

“We ended up flying two centre clusters on a spanner truss higher than the mother grid, two K1-SB subs in the back and higher than a stack of four further K1-SBs. Once properly aligned, the low end was steered down and it worked out very well," said François.

A key part of the show is the soundscapes, sound effects and musical elements that follow the actions of the show’s performers. To ensure every section of the audience was covered, ten L-Acoustics 108 XTis were installed at the Grand Tier level for the stalls, with 12 on the gallery to cover the circle.

“Every section of seating has some degree of ‘ambiophonic’ sound. The surrounds are part of a distributed system, with audio routed to highlight the movements and trajectories needed for specific effects,” François added.

“With the circular shape of the Royal Albert Hall there is a lot to cover, especially vertically. I had the luxury of rigging points pretty much where needed, so we were able to bring the six Kara hangs very close to the centre – above the stage – high enough to be out of the way of the acrobatics and any sightline issues. The 110° horizontal dispersion has really helped to achieve the coverage needed.

“I can honestly say that the system for Amaluna is the best sound I have achieved in the Albert Hall. We have really got something special. It is smooth and practically seamless, with nice imaging for every seat.”