Royal Albert Hall London

Gregje

Member
2009-10-16 8:59 pm
London
I had recently doubtful pleasure of attending a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I have been there a few years ago for the first time (Madame Butterfly) and me and my wife promised to ourselves that we will not go there again. Still, we had to go a few days ago again and the result was the same.

So what is my problem with this venue? Well it s actually well known that RAH has very poor acoustics (just google: "Royal Albert Hall acoustics" and "poor" will pop up by itself). I have read somewhere that the problem has been somewhat rectified by suspending UFO saucers from the cupola. I do not know whether that helps or not. I think the real issue is the fact that everything gets amplified. And not in a gentle way. It is too loud and the speakers are obviously stressed. Ghetto blasters is what comes to my mind... But even the softer passages can sound pretty bad. Sibilance is clearly present making strings sound pretty bad. It really beats me. I am not a sound engineer but I would say they concert experience at RAH would gain a lot but much subtler amplification if needed at all. Secondly, I am pretty sure RAH can afford better equipment.

I know there are quite some sound engineers here at this forum. Is it really necessary that orchestra music is amplified? If so I am pretty sure it can be done in a better way!
 
The UFOs have improved things; before them it was even worse! Amplification is almost certainly not the fault of the hall but the sound engineer used by the production. Unlike RFH, the Albert does not need electronic assistance so I am surprised it was used. Maybe modern opera singers can't fill a hall like they used to? An orchestra in the RAH certainly needs no PA to help it; maybe they were simply pandering to modern tastes.
 

billshurv

Member
Paid Member
2014-03-01 11:53 pm
I've been to Proms there and to a rock concert. For the Prom there was no obvious reinforcement and, for the price of the ticket I was happy. But yes the acoustics are carp, which is why Henry wood used the elizabeth hall until it was redesigned by a few bombs
 

billshurv

Member
Paid Member
2014-03-01 11:53 pm
RoH is good. I take the girls there each xmas. Looking down into the orchestra pit from the gods gives an interesting perspective.

For smaller scale works kings place is supposed to be good. But as its under our London office I never feel like going there!
 

Gregje

Member
2009-10-16 8:59 pm
London
Hi Billshurv,

We have actually tried (once!) the places in ROH which Prince Charles takes (apparently middle first row first balcony). If you haven't won the lottery for those tickets enroll to family program at ROH. They offer affordable opera introduction afternoons (a full opera + a backstage, workshops tour) to families. But I guess you know this. I write it for the benefit of other people who might read this.

Greg
 

Pano

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-10-07 6:05 am
Panama
One of our moderators - Pink Mouse - used to work at the RAH. He should be pretty familiar with the technical aspects, as he's been up in the rafters often enough.

I do regret that so many things are amplified now. I don't get to hear real instruments or voices, just speakers. :(