New sound worlds for the Bregenz Festival

Sound System at the lake stage is significantly enhanced

Bregenz, 5.7.19. The Bregenz Festival and its lake stage aren't only known for lavish stage sets and exceptional productions. The sound experience for the audience is also of the highest quality. 

After Bregenz Open Acoustics (BOA) was successfully in use at the festival for 15 years, the first instalment of an upgraded sound system, BOA 2.0, is now in place for the premiere of Rigoletto

Audience members at the opera on the lake stage will continue to enjoy top quality sound, as all the sound equipment is undergoing modernisation to keep it state-of-the-art. As a result the audience will be immersed in unmatched sound worlds. 

Quantum leaps in technology
"Since the introduction of BOA in 2005, quantum leaps have taken place both in digital technology and in sound technology. So far we have been on a very high level globally," says Wolfgang Urstadt, the Bregenz Festival's technical director, "but the state of technology today affords new possibilities as far as directional hearing and acoustic spatial simulation are concerned." 

Recently, 29 loudspeaker masts were positioned around the outdoor seating area at three different height levels. They replace the ribbon of loudspeakers previously installed and ensure an evenly balanced sound in all sections of the auditorium.

The centrepiece of BOA 2.0 is a new sound mixing desk with highly innovative computer technology. This makes it possible for directional hearing, sound effects and acoustic spatial simulation to be blended together in the best possible way, Urstadt explains. "In addition to that, for our technology team it's important to remain open to future developments with the new sound system," he says.

Just how important the technology is for a successful performance is emphasised by the artistic director Elisabeth Sobotka: "The lake stage at Bregenz has always been a place of not only artistic but also technological innovations."

2.5 million euros for a premium product
After several years considering potential suppliers of the new sound system, the Bregenz Festival chose Müller-BBM Acoustic Solutions, based in Planegg near Munich. Müller-BBM is one of the most renowned firms internationally in the field of sound engineering for open-air events. Its electronic spatial acoustic system Vivace is being adapted to the specific requirements of the Bregenz lake stage. 

"As a premium event organiser there was no question that we should decide for cutting-edge technology, in order to go one step further in our already incomparably high sound quality. So the Bregenz Festival is investing about 2.5 million euros in that," says Michael Diem, the commercial director.

Best sound in 7,000 seats
From a technical point of view, the challenge has always been to ensure that for every one of the approx. 7,000 audience members the sound emitted from a range of different sources is synchronised with the stage action. An essential factor in the process is the speed of sound, given that the auditorium is 90 metres wide and 46 metres deep. Furthermore considerable processing power is required for digital coordination and control.

Despite the technical challenges and all the high-tech that's required, everybody involved is constantly focused on one thing: that the audience on the lake stage have a wonderful evening and enjoy an outstanding acoustic experience that is unique in the world. 



BOA 2.0

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Lisa Kloos