The Salzburg Festival is considered the world’s finest drama and classical music
festival. Siemens has equipped the specially built opera houses with state-of-the-art
technology with advanced systems to ensure the perfect balance of comfort, safety
and security. Founded in 1920 by theatre director and producer Max Reinhardt, the
Salzburg Festival has grown into a cultural event of international stature. Today
nearly 260,000 visitors attend the 14 performance venues where over 200 events
take place each year.
Cutting-edge technology ensures utmost comfort, maximum safety and security, as
well as first-class acoustics. The facilities are equipped with building automation,
sound systems, stage management consoles, fire detection technology, access
control and evacuation systems.
Advanced fire safety and access control
The fire detection system delivers maximum safety. Over 1,800 detectors monitor
the many different areas throughout the festival halls. Linear detectors, flame
detectors and smoke extraction systems offer high level protection of the audience
and stage areas. Festival managers also have the advantage of central control and
an integrated guard tour system. In an emergency, everyone on site is given clear
instructions via a voice alarm system on how to exit the building safely and securely.
A Siport access control system ensures that only authorised personnel gain access
to the secure areas of the festival halls. Approximately 7,000 photo ID cards are
issued across the site every Summer across the workforce to personnel such as
performers, stage technicians and administrative staff. The photo ID cards cannot
be counterfeited as a special security overlay with holographic printing prevents
tampering. The same card is also used for time and attendance and cashless
vending in the cafeteria.
Perfect sound and safety
The stage manager is in charge of the overall coordination at the Festival. This
includes a wide range of procedures such as monitoring the action on stage, alerting
performers in their dressing room and issuing light signals. During the performance,
all the threads converge on a specially designed stage manager console, complete
with touch screen for maximum ease of use. Cameras enable the stage manager to
monitor the stage area and other key locations.
In an emergency, the stage manager can contact the relevant services and first
responders as well as organise safe evacuation over the public address system.
More than 300 loudspeaker circuits were installed for these tasks in the Mozart
House and the Felsenreitschule alone. The Great Festival Hall is still being
modernised, however once the work is finalised, approximately 400 loudspeaker
circuits will ensure smooth operations in this one venue.
A digital network was set up to improve the acoustics in the festival halls. The sound
systems and all the required components for the stage and audience arena were
also provided by Siemens. Fibre-optic cables transmit all the audio data and control
information digitally to the three venues. The system uses a digital time division
multiplex process. Each one of the base units used has an audio data bus with 256
time slots, which carry 256 signals simultaneously. Computer-controlled
loudspeakers and equalisers ensure that every audience member hears the sound
not only at the same time but at the same quality. The system is self-diagnostic and
as soon as a malfunction occurs, it sends relevant information to the appropriate
The right climate
Precise control of the interior temperature and humidity is particularly important in a
festival hall, so that both audiences and artists can experience the performance in
comfort. To achieve this objective, Siemens designed a sophisticated climate control
system using natural resources. The Alm River flows under the city of Salzburg and
cold water is rerouted underneath the Great Festival Hall and used for air
conditioning to maintain a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 55
per cent in the concert hall. This automation system also controls ventilation and
delivers fresh air to the concert halls continuously and quietly. A management
station monitors more than 6,000 data points and will report the slightest disruption
or deviation from the specified values to ensure continuity.
With a unique, integrated solution that monitors room temperature, humidity,
acoustics, stage manager systems, fire detection and access control, Siemens has
added considerably to the safety, security and comfort of the internationally
renowned Salzburg Festival. The cutting-edge technology guarantees the best
acoustics, optimal room temperature and climate, reliable fire safety, controlled
access and state-of-the-art evacuation. All stakeholders benefit from the new
technology; the management team, employees, performers, and audiences.
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