You are using an outdated browser that does not fully support the intranda viewer.
As a result, some pages may not be displayed correctly.

We recommend you use one of the following browsers:

Full text

New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

L. Parati a ’ *, A. C. Gade b , R. Pompoli a , J. H. Rindel b
a Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università di Ferrara, Via Saragat 1,44100 Ferrara, Italy (lparati, rpompoli)@ing.unife.it
b 0rsted-DTU, Acoustic Technology, Technical University of Denmark, build.352,
0rsteds plads, DK-2800, Kgs.Lyngby, Denmark (acg, jhr)@oersted.dtu.dk
KEY WORDS: Opera House, acoustic simulation, acoustic heritage
In the field of acoustics new techniques have been developed in order to improve the acoustics of a room. Techniques, such as
computer simulations, are especially useful in historical theatres where acoustical characteristics can be preserved during renovations
or improved with well chosen minor alterations while still preserving the theatre’s heritage. These new techniques have been applied
to investigate the acoustical balance between a singer on the stage and the orchestra in the pit which is a relatively new concept in
room acoustics. Simulations have been carried out in a model of the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen, which was inaugurated on the
15 th of October 1874. By means of a few modifications in the type of materials, dimensions and shapes, some of the architectural
elements controlling the balance have been identified and optimised.
Historical opera houses are a heritage that has to be preserved.
This heritage doesn’t have to be based only on the architectural
aspects but also on characteristics such as its acoustical
qualities. The concept of acoustical heritage has been
determined in a document called “Charter of Ferrara” (Prodi,
Pompoli, 1999), and a scientific tool to quantify the acoustical
heritage has been described in the “Guidelines for acoustical
measurements inside historical opera houses” (Prodi, Pompoli,
IS03382 (IS03382, 1997) can be considered the normative
reference for this kind of room-acoustical measurement and the
above guidelines, aim at specializing the norm for these
historical places. Nowadays the acoustics of the historical opera
house can be modified and problems solved. Among them one
of the new aspects which still has not been sufficiently
investigated is the acoustical balance between the sound coming
from the orchestra in the pit and that from the singer on the
In order to best describe this acoustic aspect which is also
important in modem opera houses, an omnidirectional sound
source has to be placed in the orchestra pit and a directional one
has to be placed on the stage (Parati, Otondo, 2003). By means
of room acoustical simulations, it is possible to predict the
acoustical behaviour.
The aim of this study is to determine a method to control the
balance through modification of architectural elements, without
affecting the other acoustic parameters. Furthermore it is
desirable to enhance the acoustic qualities of an existing theatre,
preserving the historical heritage by means of room acoustic
simulations carried out in this case on a model of the Royal
Theatre of Copenhagen.
The Royal Theatre (Royal Theatre websites) has been housed
on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen since 1748. During the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a new majestic theatre was
built in the same place for a larger number of people. It was
designed by the architects Vilhelm Dahlerup and Ove Pedersen.
It was inaugurated on 15th October 1874. The theatre has an
Italian Baroque style, the hall has a horseshoe shape and it
houses 1400 people located in the stalls and the four levels of
balconies. The stage tower has a volume of 13.000 m 3 with a
stage area of 595 m 2 and a fixed proscenium of 115 m 2 . The pit
has variable configuration based on the required dimension
suitable for the orchestra. The pit floor area can reach a
dimension of 130 square metres, which means full orchestra.
Nowadays it is used throughout the year for opera, ballet and
drama. This is the theatre where August Bourhonville worked
and founded his famous ballet tradition. Figure 1 shows a view
of the theatre from the outside.
Figure 1: Exterior view of the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen.
Corresponding author.