The Ballet du Nord dances towards the future with RIVAGE PM3


The Ballet du Nord dances towards the future with RIVAGE PM3

UK – Describing itself as “the UK’s premier narrative ballet company”, Northern Ballet performs a repertoire that ranges from very traditional to very contemporary. A key part of his job is to put on touring shows, performing for audiences far from his base in Leeds. With the resumption of touring, the ballet turned to the future by investing in two Yamaha RIVAGE PM3 digital mixing systems. These were first used at the world premiere of the Merlin ballet, which began its tour at the Nottingham Theater Royal.

Founded in 1969, Northern Ballet has used Yamaha digital mixers for several years, starting with the M7CL. “As a touring company, reliability is paramount and we’ve always been very happy with Yamaha in that regard,” says Steve Wilkins, Ballet Technical Director. “We only lost one fader and one take to tour damage, while experience with consoles from other manufacturers has shown them to be less reliable. So when we needed an upgrade we were more than happy to stick with Yamaha.

Steve asked the ballet’s system designer, Alastair West, to specify a truly future-proof system to support the ballet’s expanding touring repertoire. The system had to cover a wide range of bases, including venues ranging from theater studios to large arenas, be adaptable to any type of production, allow on-site recording and be used with an unlimited number of musicians.

Alastair first looked at Yamaha CL digital mixing consoles, but when RIVAGE PM3 was launched the benefits were obvious. “Outside of PA (we use in-house systems or rent for larger productions) as a company, we are completely self-sufficient for touring. Keeping the size of the mixing system flightcase as small as possible for transport was as important as the control surfaces taking up minimal space in small rooms, ”says technician Sam Day.

“Having state-of-the-art mixing systems that don’t take up more space than an M7CL has made RIVAGE PM3 a very attractive solution. “

The ballet has invested in two RIVAGE PM3 systems to allow its facade and monitor configurations to be as flexible as possible. In small venues it may not always be possible to put a control surface in the traditional FoH position, so here the surface can be placed in a backstage room and controlled by Yamaha’s StageMix app.

In addition to providing the main mix, the system provides rollback for dancers and streams for personal monitors for musicians. “Each instrument is integrated to facilitate both recording and personal control. We can place Perspex screens between musicians and really control the noise levels for them, allowing them to mix their own monitors and reduce the risk of hearing damage, ”says Alastair.

“At any stage, we have the possibility of recording any performance and the flexibility of the system allows for virtual scales in places where the orchestra must be housed far from the stage, away from the dancers. Using this technique, the conductor can step out in front to hear the music and make any necessary changes.

With every instrument on the mic, Northern Ballet is also at the forefront of what the sound team calls “orchestral enhancement”. “It’s not amplification in the sense that most viewers would know,” Steve says. “It’s more about bringing sound to the audience in a more contemporary way than usual with a ballet.

“It’s the way composers tend to think of audio now, especially with more modern works. This gives them the opportunity to use more modern arrangements alongside traditional arrangements without the orchestra sounding “amplified”.

Pictures: Emma Kauldhar

The Ballet du Nord dances towards the future with RIVAGE PM3The Ballet du Nord dances towards the future with RIVAGE PM3

October 26, 2021

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