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The world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, has completed a major installation of the latest wireless communications solutions from Clear-Com. The systems, which feature the award-winning FreeSpeak II Digital Wireless System and the Agent-IC mobile app, were supplied and installed by Clear-Com’s regional partner, Oltbert Business Development Ltd.

The Mariinsky Theatre is one of the world’s most prestigious theatres for opera and ballet, with a rich history intertwined with Russia’s political and cultural shifts over the last 150 years.

It has seen the premieres of important stage works from Russian composers including Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, while many legends of the ballet such as Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Barishnikov began their careers at the Mariinsky Theatre’s ballet school.

The main Mariinsky Theatre building has undergone many reconstructions over the years and now seats over 1,600 guests. A second theater building, the Mariinsky II, was built behind the original in 2013, with seven storeys above ground and three below, boasting an auditorium that can seat to 2,000 people.

Each building has a separate communication set-up; when it was built, the Mariinsky II installed a Clear-Com Eclipse HX Digital Matrix System, but production teams in the older building were relying on outdated and unreliable walkie-talkies. Recently the theatre’s technical department began looking for a solution to update both buildings, harnessing the latest wireless technologies to improve communications.

“We were very happy with our Eclipse System in the Mariinsky II, so we were delighted to be able to integrate a FreeSpeak II Wireless System into it, giving us the same reliable intercom but with additional flexibility that allows staff to move freely around this large building,” said Alexander Logvinov, Leader of Mariinsky Sound and Video Department, Mariinsky II. “For the original theatre we installed a new standalone FreeSpeak II system which has transformed the way our production staff communicates.”

The original theatre’s new FreeSpeak II system has two E1 transceivers with eight beltpacks, and its existing Eclipse Matrix was upgraded to an Eclipse HX Digital Matrix System with the latest software that enables it to seamlessly integrate with IP communications, digital wireless solutions and other devices.

The FreeSpeak II system in the Mariinsky II features six FreeSpeak II IP-T transceivers over AES67 PoE connection, with 16 beltpacks. The Clear-Com Agent-IC mobile app on iOS or Android devices is also available to extend the system if visiting productions require additional clients. The systems enable virtually everyone in each theatre to communicate, including FOH, stage managers, lighting teams and production managers.

“Clear-Com offers us superior audio quality and incredible flexibility, with robust hardware that can withstand the rigours of busy theatre life,” said Logvinov. “We also appreciate the local support we get from Clear-Com’s partner Oltbert, who are on hand in case we need assistance.”

Nicki Fisher, Sales Director, Europe, Clear-Com, said, “Theatre systems are in Clear Com’s blood, but installations like this at such a historic venue are very special indeed. We are honoured that Clear-Com systems are helping to bring the next generation of legendary performances to life at the Mariinsky Theatre.”