Theatre Projects' acoustics team improves Opera House at Versailles Palace

April 19, 2018

Theatre Projects’ acoustics team is currently working in the Royal Opera of Versailles—one of the most prestigious and historic opera houses in Europe—in order to improve sound quality, programming capability, audience experience, and performance flexibility in the historic venue. 

The 712-seat Opera House in France’s Versailles Palace wanted to better accommodate baroque orchestral music in addition to their usual operatic programming, so Theatre Projects was selected to design and specify a demountable acoustic wall that supports greater sound reflection. Sensitive to the historic nature of the venue, which opened in 1770, our designs ensured that the wall could be moved freely and store in the stagehouse. While the  shell is heavy enough to provide the required acoustic mass, its modular construction makes it easy to handle and store quickly.

The opera house features a wood interior painted to resemble marble and offers exceptional acoustic conditions for opera performance. Careful that the new acoustic wall wouldn’t impede sound quality in the room, we studied the existing acoustic conditions using a groundbreaking software called IRIS. The program, distributed in France by 01dB (an ACOEM Group) surveys the sonic environment to create 3D visualizations of sound, known as spectrograms. 

“This is a highly prestigious project—it’s a privilege to work in the same room where so many operas were played and where, incidentally, Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette,” says Sebastien Jouan, Theatre Projects’ principal acoustic consultant. “Following our installation at the Pantheon in Paris last year, we’re very proud yet again to be working on such an important piece of French history.”

Additions to the Versailles Opera House are expected to be completed by June 2018. Theatre Projects’ acoustic team is based in Paris and London. They have completed projects across Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Middle East, including concert halls, opera houses, drama theatres, and live music venues, in addition to corporate and commercial facilities, museums, exhibitions, and sound art installations.

Theatre Projects' acoustics team improves Opera House at Versailles Palace
Credit: Theatre Projects
Theatre Projects' acoustics team improves Opera House at Versailles Palace
Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: L'Opéra-visite de la reine Victoria-1855