Buttenheim/Salzburg, September 3rd, 2014: The soundscape imagined by director Andreas Kriegenburg for the new production of “Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg” at the Salzburg Festival (18 July through 31 August 2014) required top-notch equipment and talented engineers. Managing the high number of cues and microphone signals was only possible thanks to the decision of Salzburg Festival’s technical director, Andreas Zechner, to use a Salzbrenner Polaris Touch mixing console consisting of three modules. Renowned for their reliability, product quality and scalability, this German-made solution was deemed indispensable for the sound effects and other audio props requested by the director.
The production relied on several sound layers—incidental music, street noises and voice effects—which required a solid technical background. For his new production of Ödön von Horváth’s “Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg”, Andreas Kriegenburg decided to work with a continuous soundscape, with partial overlaps of several signals. Given the extremely short preparation time and the high number of signals that needed to be managed in real time, sound engineers/designers Martin Sraier-Krügemann and Wolfram Schild chose a Polaris Touch console from the German manufacturer Salzbrenner.
When it became clear during rehearsals that the 28 available channel strips would not suffice for the production, it was decided to expand the setup with an additional 16-fader module: increasing the channel strip count to 44 was a matter of simply connecting the console to the existing setup. This allowed the engineers to control all voice effects, war noise collages and the actors’ microphone signals in real time: most actors were almost permanently on stage, and so the sound engineers needed to have direct access to all microphone channels. Thanks to the selected setup, all 24 sound collage tracks, eight effects channels and ten microphone channels could be used to create the magic theatre goers expect from performances on Perner-Insel Hallein, an external location used by the Salzburg Festival.
German-Austrian collaboration and production: Munich Kammerspiele’s sound designers/engineers come to the rescue in Salzburg
Despite a permanent technical staff of about 120, the Salzburg Festival hires over 700 freelancers during the months of July and August. For the “Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg” production, the Festival’s technical director, Andreas Zechner, hired two sound engineers of the Munich Kammerspiele: Martin Sraier-Krügermann and Wolfram Schild.
By providing quick access to all parameters and functions, the Polaris system’s touch sensitivity greatly facilitates operations. Its seamless expansion capability and superior sound quality are deemed impressive by audio professionals. Sraier’s conclusion: “Thanks to its sound quality and operation philosophy, the Polaris Touch console proved to be the right decision. The director and the technical director were not the only ones to be impressed by the result.”
Polaris Touch setup for “Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg” at the Salzburg Festival 2014:
- One console comprising three modules:
- One 12-fader master module
- Two 16-fader modules
- Total: 44 channel strips
- Two Polaris DSP frames (master and backup)
- Integration into the existing NEXUS network over MADI