Meyer Sound and Cirque du Soleil® have enjoyed a fruitful relationship since the early 1990s, and now, Meyer Sound has been chosen as official sound equipment supplier for the new Cirque du Soleil show Kooza™, which debuted in April in Montreal, Quebec.
Written and directed by former Cirque du Soleil clown David Shiner, Kooza is a return to Cirque du Soleil’s origins, combining two circus traditions: acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
Kooza’s eclectic musical score blends elements of hip hop, funk, ethnic, and classical music, all powerfully presented by sound co-designers Jonathan Deans and Leon Rothenberg through an elaborate Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeaker system.
Deans, the sound designer for numerous Cirque du Soleilshows, and Rothenberg, who served as his assistant on several productions, collaborated equally on the vibrant sound design for Kooza. This is the first time Rothenberg has shared duties with Deans on a Cirque du Soleil production.
The Meyer Sound loudspeaker system, provided by Montreal-based Solotech, features 12 M’elodie™ ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers and 14 M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeakers, with additional Meyer Sound components strategically located to add specific ambience and dimension to the mix. “One of the great things about Meyer Sound speakers is that their specifications on paper are exactly the same as what we get in the theatre,” says Rothenberg, who has worked with Deans on nearly every Cirque du Soleilproduction Deans has done since Kà™ at MGM Grand, up through The Beatles’ Love™ at The Mirage in Las Vegas. “It allows us to get very exacting when aiming the sound.”
The Grand Chapiteau, a purpose-built venue made of thick, highly reflective plastic-treated canvas, posed a particular challenge when mixing the audio, as did changes in humidity, temperature, and venue location. “What acoustics you do get from the tent are mainly extreme amounts of high end, while the low end goes right out,” says Deans.
The sound system also employs Meyer Sound’s LCS Series Matrix3™ audio show control system, paired with both the CueMixer™ compact and CueConsole™ modular control surfaces, to create an innovative spatial aspect for every seat in the house. “Using the LCS Series products, we’re able to blend perspectives to create an experience that sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before in a tent,” Rothenberg continues. “No other system gives you the flexibility to make those kinds of choices. The LCS Series technology allows us to access every speaker directly, all of the time.”
“The attention Cirque du Soleilputs toward all aspects of their productions places them in a class of their own,” says Meyer Sound executive VP Helen Meyer. “It is a thrill and an honor to have Meyer Sound products play such an important role in their productions, and especially Kooza.”