Soldier Of Orange Breaks Records With Alcons

Soldier Of Orange Breaks Records With Alcons

June, 2022
Alcons LR14 loudspeakers best choice of sounddesign team Soldaat van Oranje

The audio team Chiel Blaauw, Jeroen ten Brinke, Jos Diergaarde (L to R) still happy with choice for Alcons

Having recently passed the milestone of 3000 performances, Soldaat van Oranje, De Musical is the longest running and by far the biggest theatrical production ever staged in the Netherlands. Just as notable is that the original Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system, installed when the production opened 11 years ago, is still performing flawlessly.

3000th performance Soldaat van Oranje

3000 shows and still going with Alcons

Staged in a converted, former military aircraft hangar in Valkenburg, near Leiden, Soldaat van Oranje, De Musical (Soldier of Orange, the Musical) is a large scale, technically complex production which tells the story of a group of Dutch students in the Second World War. The show opened in October 2010 and has already played to a total audience of more than 3.2 million since.

The production is essentially the reverse of a conventional ‘in the round’ performance. Here the 1100-strong audience sits on a 30m/100ft diameter turntable in the centre of the hangar, which revolves to face different stage sets around the perimeter. To maintain continuity, the actors walk between these each time the audience revolves.

“The confidence we placed in Alcons systems, with the superb speech intelligibility has been fully justified,” Sound designer Jeroen ten Brinke

Sound designer Jeroen ten Brinke’s system had to overcome the technical challenges of providing high quality sound for such an unusual setup. The Alcons LR14 ultra-compact line array module was the obvious answer, the exceptional intelligibility and throw of its RBN401 pro-ribbon HF driver on its ‘morpher’ lens, combined with double 6.5″ Neodymium drivers, ensuring that each of the 14 inward-pointing arrays provides a perfect L-C-R sound image for each scene. As the turntable revolves, the right array of one scene becomes the left array of the next, the quality of the Alcons pro-ribbon arrays essential to maintaining a good sense of audible realism.

“In this rare situation of a revolving audience-area along 14 loudspeaker arrays, the Alcons system delivers an almost phase neutral result. The clarity and intelligibility are very high, which is essential for the reinforcement of voices in a musical,” says Jos Diergaarde, sound engineer of Soldaat van Oranje, involved since the start of the production.

Scene uit Soldaat van Oranje - Photo credit Joris van Bennekom

Scene uit Soldaat van Oranje – Photo credit Joris van Bennekom

Powered by ALC4 2x2kW amplified loudspeaker controllers, after 3000 shows one would expect even the most rugged loudspeaker or amplifier to be tiring, but the Alcons units have shown no sign of it. Despite the intensive production schedule and longevity of the show, every one of nearly 100 Alcons loudspeakers and 30 ALC4s is still working as perfectly as it did on the first day of production rehearsals.

LR14 ultra-compact line array, loaded with RBN401 pro-ribbon driver

LR14 loaded with RBN401 pro-ribbon driver

“As a Dutch manufacturer, it has been an honour for Alcons loudspeakers to be the main house system on a production which tells such a powerful story about our heritage,” says Alcons Audio co-founder Tom Back. “The LR14s and ALC4s have been worked relentlessly hard, but there has not been one breakdown, not a single replacement needed. There have not even been any components that have needed changing. ”

Over the years of operation, there has just been one adjustment to the original setup; Having such excellent experience with the Alcons pro-ribbon arrays, the non-Alcons subwoofers were replaced by six Alcons BF302 double 15” subwoofers in October 2017.

Tom Back, Alcons Audio co-founder: “We are very proud that the equipment has operated so flawlessly, although we’ve not been surprised about that!”

“It’s great to see that an experimental and very forward-thinking approach to the sound design for this project was realized and confirmed in practice with Alcons pro-ribbon arrays,” says Jeroen. “The confidence we placed in Alcons systems, with the superb speech intelligibility, gain before feedback and, on top of that, not one single failure throughout years of intense – in fact almost daily – use, has been fully justified.”

“Being a technical production that people will be talking about for years, called by some ‘musical v2.0’, only makes us prouder to be part of it,” Tom concludes. “We really hope that it – and the Alcons loudspeakers in it – will continue for years to come and also be enjoyed by international audiences.”

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