Meyer Constellation brings San Francisco Opera to life

A Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system has been installed in the San Francisco Opera’s new Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theatre as part of a recent renovation.

Located in the Diane B. Wilsey Centre for Opera, the 299-seat Atrium Theatre is designed for multiple configurations, providing both performers and audience members with a very personal approach to opera.

Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system was custom designed to provide the venue with a range of acoustic options, allowing the San Francisco Opera (SF opera) – the first opera company to rely upon Constellation – to expand from traditional theatre-style seating to cabaret settings with café tables and in-the-round performances, or even edgier configurations.

“If we really want this to be a gateway for new audiences and an exciting place for new ideas, the Wilsey Center must be state-of-the-art,” said David Gockley, general director of SF Opera. “Top on my list was a Meyer Sound Constellation system to anchor our acoustic foundation. Not only could we guarantee terrific acoustics for now, but we would also leave a legacy for future generations to dream in ways we cannot presently imagine.”

Constellation uses proprietary technology to virtually adjust the shape of the venue, enabling composers, conductors, and artists to create the venue best suited to the desired experience.

The D-Mitri digital audio platform provides the backbone for Constellation and hosts the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm, working in conjunction with 24 widely distributed microphones and 75 small, self-powered loudspeakers mounted discreetly within the theatre walls and ceiling. San Francisco-based Arup provided acoustical and AV consulting services, with Kurt Graffy leading the team. Santa Rosa, California-based PCD installed the system.

“Constellation is seamlessly and invisibly integrated into the physical architecture of the Atrium Theatre,” said Steve Ellison, Meyer Sound’s applications director for digital products. “The room’s adjustable active acoustics give the theatre a chameleon-like quality, able to ideally support ensembles both large and small. New productions can take advantage of all of the system’s immersive audio capabilities, including multi-channel playback and SpaceMap surround panning that can bring the walls and ceiling to life.”

The Wilsey Center for Opera is the result of a $21 million renovation of the fourth floor and basement of the Beaux-Arts style Veterans Building, a historic Civic Centre landmark that recently completed an extensive seismic retrofit. SF Opera selected the award-winning architectural firm Mark Cavagnero Associates to transform the venue into a state-of-the-art theatre and education/rehearsal studio.

In addition to the Atrium Theater, the 38,000-square-foot Wilsey Center is home to the Bryan Education and Rehearsal Studio, the Anderson Norby Costume Studio, the Braby San Francisco Opera Archive, and a variety of administrative and support offices.