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Sennheiser to power World’s First Large Scale Opera for Wireless Headphones, Invisible Cities, Premiering at Los Angeles’ Union Station This Month

The Industry, L.A. Dance Project and Sennheiser Push the Boundaries of Art, Imagination and Wireless Technology for an Unprecedented, Interactive Dramatic Experience

Los Angeles – October 9, 2013 – Audio specialist Sennheiser announced that its world-class professional and consumer technology will play an integral part of Invisible Cities: the world’s first large scale opera for wireless headphones. The landmark production, a collaboration among The Industry, L.A. Dance Project and Sennheiser, will stage its world premiere on Saturday, October 19th at Los Angeles’ iconic Union Station — the largest railway terminal in the western United States.

The Invisible Cities opera, written by Christopher Cerrone and based on the 1972 novel by Italo Calvino, combines historical fiction with surrealist elements to create an ‘invisible opera for wireless headphones’. The opera’s narrative, which centers on explorer Marco Polo’s descriptions of fantastical cities to Emperor Kublai Khan, transform’s Calvino’s novel into a unique experience for each participant — combining a classic art form with the ultimate in technology. By using wireless headphones from Sennheiser, audience members will be intimately connected to the storyline, while having the ability to roam freely as the opera moves throughout the terminal.

“Art-making is not just about great ideas but about ingenious execution — making a vision something real,” commented Yuval Sharon, artistic director, The Industry. “Sennheiser is literally making The Industry’s dreams come true; this production simply would not exist without their commitment to innovation and the drive for excellence that will make this such a magical experience for audiences.”

“Our world is characterized by fast-paced, interactive communication and consumers seek experiences that touch them in a much deeper and more meaningful level. Invisible Cities caters to this desire and delivers a truly innovative performance to its audience,” commented Stefanie Reichert, director strategic marketing, Sennheiser. “We have worked in close cooperation with Sennheiser global relations, including project manager Kristy Jo Winkler, to make this a seamless experience for the entire audience. Invisible Cities showcases how innovative technology and cutting-edge artistic vision drives innovation in the arts.”

While Invisible Cities is an opera at its essence, it is unconventional in many ways. For example, there is no opera house and no assigned seats — audience members are not restricted in their movement and encouraged to roam freely. Also, whereas audience members at a conventional opera typically rely solely on natural building acoustics to hear an operatic production, Invisible Cities will utilize Sennheiser’s state-of-the-art wireless technology to convey both dialog and music to listeners. Performers will be outfitted with Sennheiser wireless microphones and attendees will use Sennheiser’s RS 120 wireless consumer headphones for a complete, intimate audio experience.

At the heart of Invisible Cities‘ technical production will be Sennheiser’s new Digital 9000 wireless system, which will provide patrons with pristine, uncompromising audio for the duration of the performances. This system, which was launched last year after having been under development for over a decade, is the most advanced wireless system in the world and used in top level theatre, music and broadcasting events.

An 11-piece orchestra consisting of strings, brass and percussion will perform an original score and will be miked using a selection of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones. Singers, dancers and performers in the production will also be outfitted with Sennheiser wireless microphones, and will be able to listen to their performances and director cues using Sennheiser’s world-class in-ear monitoring system (IEMs). The performance audio will be sent to a multi-channel digital console, where it will be mixed and broadcast via wireless RF technology to attending patrons, each of who will be donning Sennheiser wireless headphones.

Bexel, based in Burbank, Calif., custom built a Managed Antenna System (MAS) that allows for extended coverage of Sennheiser’s wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and headsets.

On the audio side, Bexel also supported Sennheiser’s superb high-quality microphones with a DiGiCo SD11 paired with a DiGiCo D-Rack. The orchestra, located approximately 1,000 feet from the main hall, is connected via fiber. The DiGiCo system allows the audio mixer to con-trol the mic preamp from that distance.

We are delighted to partner with Sennheiser and the The Industry’s audio professionals on Invisible Cities,” says Rod Allen, Bexel business segment manager, Audio West. “Sennheiser, who is providing the RF integrity, along with Bexel engineering and the rest of the audio team, has a big task to make that mix relevant no matter where the main focus happens to be in the venue, because the listener has only one stereo mix to reference. It was an intriguing assignment to help launch this unique event in a working public train station with the talent roaming throughout the venue.”

For more information on Invisible Cities, including performance dates and ticket information, please visit http://invisiblecitiesopera.com/.

Photo captions:
1) The Invisible Cities opera, written by Christopher Cerrone and based on the 1972 novel by Italo Calvino, combines historical fiction with surrealist elements to create an ‘invisible opera for wireless headphones’. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross)

2) Invisible Cities, a collaboration among The Industry, L.A. Dance Project and Sennheiser, will stage its world premiere on Saturday, October 19, at Los Angeles’ iconic Union Station — the largest railway terminal in the western United States. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross).

3) Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director, The Industry, on the set at Union Station with his Sennheiser RS 120 headset and SKM 2000 transmitter. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross)

About The Industry
The Industry is a new home for new and experimental opera in Los Angeles. Founded and led by director Yuval Sharon, The Industry creates ambitious productions that expand the traditional definition of opera and explore new paradigms for interdisciplinary collaboration. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times writes “The Industry is quickly and dramatically becoming an essential component in American opera. It’s now indispensable to the LA scene.” The Industry’s inaugural production, Anne LeBaron and Douglas Kearney’s Crescent City, was instantly hailed as “reshaping LA opera” (Los Angeles Times) and “changing the face of music-theater in this city overnight” (Out West Arts). The large-scale multimedia production, featuring the work of six visual artists in a 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Atwater Village, performed over three weeks in May 2012 to capacity audiences. The Industry recently presented First Take, a west coast opera workshop showcasing excerpts from six new operatic works-in-progress by the legendary Pauline Oliveros, and rising star composer Mohammed Fairouz at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater. For more information visit: www.TheIndustryLA.org.

About L.A. Dance Project
L.A. Dance Project is an artist collective founded in 2012 by renowned choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied, along with composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, producer Charles Fabius, and film producer Dimitri Chamblas. L.A. Dance Project’s mission is to create new work and to revive seminal collaborations from influential dance makers. Pro-grams include full-length evenings in traditional theater venues as well as various modular performances in non-traditional environments. New works by the company endeavor to be multidisciplinary collaborations with various artists: visual artists, musicians, designers, directors and composers. L.A. Dance Project promotes the work of emerging and established creators, contributing to new platforms for contemporary dance. For more information visit: www.ladanceproject.com.

About Bexel
Bexel is the pre-eminent worldwide provider of broadcast services including video and audio equipment rentals, fiber services, new audio sales, used equipment sales, and repairs/maintenance. Bexel provides brilliantly designed and flawlessly executed systems and solutions to all customers – including producers of the biggest and most important televised events in the world. For more information, visit www.bexel.com, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About Sennheiser
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn. Sennheiser’s pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.You can find all the latest information on Sennheiser by visiting our website at www.sennheiserusa.com.

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