Bolshoi Theatre Installs RTS Stage-Manager System

For centuries, a symbol of Russian culture: the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is not only the best-known and largest venue for operatic and ballet productions in Russia, but is numbered also among the most important and celebrated theatres in the world. In fact, since the opening in 1780 of what was initially the Petrovka Theatre, it has been in the eyes of ballet lovers the world over the very symbol of Russian culture. In over 230 years of existence, it’s survived wars, revolutions and even catastrophic fires. And now, after a six-year programme of renovation, the Bolshoi Theatre is more imposing than ever.

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As well as renovation and construction work, the theatre management decided to invest heavily in state-of-the-art communications equipment. The nerve centre is the largest RTS professional intercom system for stage management worldwide with six interconnected individual stage-manager systems, and here they were prepared to accept no compromises. For this reason, the Hamburg-based specialist Amptown System Company was charged with the installation. “The new intercom system had, above all, to guarantee one thing,” explains Stefan Thomsen, Amptown System Company’s specialist in communications and stage-management systems, “that all those involved in a production would be able to exchange information with each other at any time without any problem.”

Furthermore, the system – however complex in its implementation – had to be simplicity itself to use; and not only to use, but also to configure. To ensure, therefore, that the ideal solution to the Bolshoi’s needs was found, two further teams of specialists – the Russian company TDM and ProVideo of Berlin – were called in to participate with Amptown’s and the theatre’s own technicians in the final decision. The result? The RTS intercom matrix combined with an RTS two-wire party-line intercom system that now forms the core of all communications within the Bolshoi Theatre.

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The RTS intercom system consists of two Advanced Digital Audio Matrix (ADAM) frames with a total of 448 ports, the frames being linked by four redundant DBX cards. 200 keypanels from the KP-32, KP-12 and MKP-4 series as well as 120 party-line belt-packs and headsets provide for reliable communication between the stage managers and theatre staff behind, beneath and above the stage. Numerous DSI-2008 two-wire/four-wire interfaces are used to link the four-wire ADAM and two-wire party-line systems to one another. The lavish and potentially award-winning installation is rounded off by 20 TIF-4000 multi-line telephone interfaces that connect the intercom system to the theatre’s telephone switchboard to integrate standard telephone lines into the overall matrix.

Total control: the largest RTS stage manager system worldwide - Behind the historic facade, there’s high-tech equipment at work

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“The new stage-management system can be operated from any of six stage-manager’s desks in different parts of the theatre,” adds Thomsen. “The SNMP protocol provides supervision of the system components. Naturally the RTS intercom system is also integrated via SNMP into the supervision concept. Should the situation arise, this system is capable of analysing any error reports and passing the information along in the form of voice-mail, SMS or e-mail messages.” Although only recently commissioned, the installation has already created quite a stir in professional circles – a reference that is already setting new standards. “We have been contacted several times about the Bolshoi solution,” reports Thomsen, “and experts from other theatres have been making special trips to Moscow to examine and report back on the installation. This is understandable, of course, as what’s good enough for the Bolshoi can also be the perfect solution for any other theatre in the world.”

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