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Presented at the 128th Convention 2010 May 22–25 London, UK
The papers at this Convention have been selected on the basis of a submitted abstract and extended precis that have been peer reviewed by at least two qualiﬁed anonymous reviewers. This convention paper has been reproduced from the author’s advance manuscript, without editing, corrections, or consideration by the Review Board. The AES takes no responsibility for the contents. Additional papers may be obtained by sending request and remittance to Audio Engineering Society, 60 East 42nd Street, New York, New York 10165-2520, USA; also see www.aes.org. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this paper, or any portion thereof, is not permitted without direct permission from the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society.
Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater
Marco Facondini1 , and Daniele Ponteggia2
TanAcoustics Studio, Pesaro, PU, 61100, Italy Studio Ing. Ponteggia, Terni, TR, 05100, Italy
Correspondence should be addressed to Marco Facondini (email@example.com) ABSTRACT Petruzzelli theater in Bari has been recently restored after disastrous ﬁre of 1991 that had seriously damaged the building. The restoration has focused on the aesthetics and functionality of the room, in particular has been given great attention to improving the acoustics of the theater. This paper review the acoustical design process that has been carried out using a computer model of the hall and measurements during the the restoration process. Objective indexes from measurements of the renewed theater are compared with literature suggested values and with similar halls.
1. INTRODUCTION The Petruzzelli theater in Bari is one of the largest opera houses in Italy after La Scala in Milan and the San Carlo theater in Naples. It hosted many famous opera and ballet greats throughout the 20th century. The theater has been recently restored and reopened after a big arson that completely destroyed the theater in 1991. The authors were involved as acoustical consultants by the building contractor to manage the acoustical restoration work and design improvements to the already available acoustical design.
The restoration has posed a series of challenges, since at the time of the ﬁre acoustical measurements of the room were not available. This paper will report the experiences collected by the authors during the restoration works, from the review of the renovation design to the measurements of the fully restored theater. 2. HYSTORICAL BACKGROUND The history of the Petruzzelli theater in Bari begun in the late 19th century, when the merchants and shipowners Onofrio ed Antonio Petruzzelli proposed to the Bari municipality the plans to build a theater designed by local architect Angelo Messeni.
which is controversial at times. Nevertheless. In order to get a better knowledge of the theater acoustics prior to the ﬁre. trying at the same time. Unfortunately this is a bad habit that deadened a bunch of Italian historic theaters (this came with the cinema era. RESTORATION At the early stage of the review of the existing acoustical restoration design we had to answer to a question that commonly arise in such kind of renovation works: the theater has to be rebuilt “as is” or its acoustics can be modiﬁed? This is always a very diﬃcult question to answer in a restoration of a building. musicals and concerts. The temptation to radically change the acoustics. and photographic historical documentation. Unfortunately. in October of 1898. AES 128th Convention. In order to correctly choose materials absorption characteristics and treated surfaces we brieﬂy investigated the theater acoustics by means of the computer model. We tried to keep the characteristic acoustics of the theater but trying to carefully get rid the excess of reverberation. and it oﬃcially reopened after 18 years the 4 October 2009 with the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The literature give us reports of a “good acoustics” with some “redundancy” especially in the higher part of the theater. as it has been done in the past in other Italian theaters. We based our analysis on the available literature. thanks to several previous similar experiences. Currently the theater is again fully working with a rich program of opera. The attempt to strongly modify the acoustics of this hall. The theater. London. that morph into a balcony on the higher orders (see ﬁgure 1 for a cut-view of a 3D reconstruction of the theater). Any attempt to reduce the reverberation with the insertion of vast amount of absorption using carpets and curtains. is doomed to failure. can be high. The model has been created using drawings plans and sections. completely restored using state funds in 2008. We extended the treatment to the very top of the dome. During the night between 26 and 27 October 1991. The Petruzzelli theater was opened on 14 February 1903 with the play of the masterpiece opera of Giacomo Meyerbeer “Les Huguenots”. we built a CAD model using an acoustic simulation software (EASE-AURA). ballet. where a rooﬂight is present. 3. This theater is born as an opera house and must remain an opera house. This indicated the dome as the main weak element. to widen its range of possible uses. has been returned back to the Bari municipality on 7 September 2009. the construction started and lasted until 1903. The Petruzzelli theater is a mixture of a classic Italian horseshoe theater shape (until the second order). The model itself has been already shown in a previous ﬁgure. it is impossible and silly to reconstruct the theater exactly with the same material and building practices of a century ago. symphony and ballet. The range of possible interventions is limited by the architecture of the hall that cannot be modiﬁed. The theater has a volume of about 18000 cubic meters (with an actual capacity of 1480 spectators) topped by an impressive dome which was originally entirely frescoed. where a clear connection on how the hall sound and the arts that have been crafted on it for nearly hundred years is well established. The preliminary acoustic design already provided an absorption treatment of the dome. must be avoided. UK. as an example creating a variable acoustic environment. plays. 2010 May 22–25 Page 2 of 8 . We tried to keep the original acoustics as carefully studied by architect Angelo Messeni. Modern materials that obey with the recent ﬁreprooﬁng regulations and modern building standards must be used. This shape is similar to the Paris Opera. when most theaters were adapted with projection screens and audio systems). But. It is also meaningless to recreate a “bad” acoustic. We tried to avoid as much as possible the usage of tents and carpets. to reduce artifacts and well known defects.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater Two years later. the theater was completely destroyed by an arson. only because it was historically bad. the only option available to control the reverberation is the choice of materials. there were no measurements of the acoustics of the theater before the ﬁre. we have to consider that this theater is an historical building. Our approach was very practical. as in this case. During the last century the theater hosted opera.
UK. 3. 2010 May 22–25 Page 3 of 8 . We tested the sample using an impulse response measurement with the microphone placed at 50 cm from the sample and on axis with a loudspeaker source (see ﬁgure 2). It must be noted that this seems to be the original disposition of the seats. other noise equipments. we ﬁeld tested a sample of about 7 square meters.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater Fig. as we found in an old map. 1: 3D cut-view of the Petruzzelli theater CAD model In the case of the orchestra pit. Great attention has been spent to assure the lowest attainable noise criteria. we measured also the eﬀect of the sample on the reverberation of an empty rectangular room (see ﬁgure 3). We modiﬁed the seat disposition of the audience. and transmitted through walls. attached over wooden supports and with a backing air cavity. Characterization of the dome acoustical plaster As mentioned earlier the dome and the rooﬂight were designed to be completely covered with an absorptive material. then we calculated the absorption coeﬃcient by separation of the two impulses: direct sound and reﬂected sound by the sample. Since this procedure give only a value that is valid over a certain frequency range and in case of normal incidence. We will not go here into the details of all steps taken to reduce the noise produced by air treatment. Since there were no available literature data of the absorption coeﬃcient of such structure. After a research of suitable materials we decided to use a layered structure made of an acoustical plaster sprayed over a metal net. and gives more freedom of usage in case of ballet or other performing arts. The orchestra pit walls were designed using a very light wood in order to avoid absorption at low frequencies. we had the possibility to do some structural changes. quadratic residue diﬀusers (to be placed at the end wall of the pit) were also designed. London. AES 128th Convention. The ﬂoor of the audience has been designed to use a wooden structure supported on masonry as in the Italian theater tradition.1. avoiding the empty central corridor which creates reﬂections right in the center of the focus of the curved walls and the dome. We designed a bigger movable orchestra pit. which is more suitable for an opera house of such size. The estimated absorption coeﬃcients are shown in see ﬁgure 4.
with the room in a rough state. The room was sampled in a series of points with the source positioned on the stage.50 0.47. after the tuning. A computer room model needs to be “tuned” before it is possible to get results which are directly comparable (quantitatively) with the real world. 4: Estimated absorption coeﬃcient of sample M30 measurement microphone. We measured the room acoustical parameters using a dodecahedron loudspeaker with subwoofer. adjusting the room geometry (by enhancing or reducing the geometrical details) and the surfaces absorption coeﬃcients (and scattering coeﬃcients).00 1. UK.4 9.33ms Length 1365.50 0. a CLIO-fw measurement system and an Earthworks 0.7 6.0 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 CH A dBSPL Unsmoothed 192kHz 262K Half Hanning Start 0.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater LogChirp . 2010 May 22–25 Page 4 of 8 .00 2.33ms -0.00 Without Sample Pa 3.11 AM Reverberation Time 4.Impulse Response 0.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Fig.50 1. The tuning consist in a veriﬁcation of the simulation results with measurements of the real room.00 0. In this case the tuning was particularly challenging because the room was not completely restored and there are no previous measurements of the room.10 12-5-2007 10.00 -0. 2: Normal incidence time response of dome treatment material 3. This technique has the advantage in respect to the Maximum Length Sequence that the loudspeaker distortion can be separated from the room response. Fig. 3: Rectangular room reverberation with and without sample Absorption Coefficient 1. right above the ﬁreproof curtain that at time was closed.2 10 FreqLO 0.9 4. which basically is an Exponential Sine Sweep ESS method.90 0.00 100 3.20 0.30 0.00ms Fig.50 RT20 (s) 2. Picture 5 shows a comparison of the reverberation time measured and calculated by the model.8 5.060 0.100 3. and in fact this is what one has to expect from a computer model. which basically consisted in the editing of the absorption coeﬃcients of the ﬁreproof curtain.020 DIRECT SOUND REFLECTED SOUND 0.40 0.5 8. The simulation results are qualitative.50 0. London.60 alpha 0. The measurements were carried out using the LogChirp technique implemented into the software.10 Reverberant chamber method Normal incidence corrected It must be taken into account that this approach has some limitations. We measured the theater acoustics during the restoration. AES 128th Convention.6 7.80 0.73Hz ms 11 12 Stop 1365.2.020 With Sample -0.060 3. In order to tune the model during the restoration of the theater we proceeded creating a temporary model of the theater.70 0. We created a computer model of the same state. and tuned this model using the measurements. Tuning of the CAD model We passed the estimated absorption coeﬃcients of the dome material to the computer model to get a preview of the treatment eﬀect on room acoustics.
but this time the theater was completed and instead of in front of the ﬁreproof curtain we put the source in front of the real curtain lowered. and we were able to measure the theater acoustics. London.85 s. The average value ts=111. The curtain lowered avoid the acoustic coupling between the room and the stage. with RT30=1. The Bass Ratio BR is a parameter that describe the warmth of an hall. The Initial Time Delay Gap ITDG. Figure 6 shows the measured acoustical parameters of the theater. The acoustical parameters are analyzed in detail in respect to the optimal values available in literature.50 1.05 dB is slightly under the optimal values for speech. The tonal balance TB is deﬁned as: TB = EDT (2kHzoctave) − EDT (250Hzoctave) 3 RT20 (s) 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Fig.8 s (as in the case of the Petruzzelli theater) is on the range from 1.02. taking into account the complex architecture of the hall. The average value for the deﬁnition D50=42. the previous indexes are varying with measurement positions.68 dB is optimal for opera and symphonic music.50 0.68 %. The averaged values in the band 125 to 4 kHz are into the optimal range both for opera and for symphonic music. represents the average slope of the EDT curve.12 s/oct.1 to 1. The Speech Transmission Index average value STI=0. UK.93 s and EDT=1.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater Reverberation Time 3. slightly less but near the optimal values. In our case the average ITDG=15.50 2.53. We used the same equipment already used in the rough state measurements. In our case the TB=-0. taking into account the room dimensions.93 ms is perfectly aligned with the expected values for this theater.00 0. again slighlty less than optimal for speech but good for music. The EDT and T30 curves shape are regular and both indicates a natural decay at high frequencies. ideal values of the TB must be near 0 s/oct.50 3.00 100 Measured Modeled The center time has a fairly linear shape. The average clarity C50=-1. the correlation between the two indexes is good and constrained into small values.43 ms which is rated as optimum by the literature for symphonic music and opera.00 2. in this way it is possible to evaluate the room acoustics only independently from the scenery that can signiﬁcantly change the overall acoustics due to its materials and dimensions. the values are referred to an average of the impulse measurements taken near the central axis of the theater. The BR is deﬁned as follows: BR = RT 30(125Hz) + RT 30(250Hz) RT 30(500Hz) + RT 30(1kHz) The ideal BR value for a theater with reverberation time equal or greater than 1. is a good rating for an opera house. The Petruzzelli has a BR=1. 5: RT20 measured and modeled with theater in rough state 4. 2010 May 22–25 Page 5 of 8 .00 1. but is good for music while the average clarity C80=1. can describe the intimacy of an hall. deﬁned as the interval between the arrive of the ﬁrst sound and the ﬁrst reﬂection. the analysis of the collected data proved that the variation of the parameters as function of the position is limited. The BR evaluates the tonal balance of the hall. Optimal ITDG values are in the 12 and 25 ms range. Anyway. ACOUSTICS OF THE RESTORED THEATER In October 2009 the theater restoration was ﬁnally completed. We reported in this article only the spatial averaged values. AES 128th Convention.25.
as requested by actual ﬁre-proof regulation.00 100.00 0. AES 128th Convention. 4. CONCLUSIONS The restoration of the Petruzzelli theater has allowed to recreate the original appearance of the hall using modern building materials. 6: Acoustical parameters of the restored Petruzzelli theater The Strenght G is calculated with the equation: Gmid = 10log RTmid V + 44.4 The comparison of some of the acoustical parameters is shown in ﬁgure 7. The spatial average value for the strenght parameter in the Petruzzelli teater G=4.00 0.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 C50 C80 Clarity 2.00 90.50 -6.5 dB.00 60.00 40. 2010 May 22–25 Page 6 of 8 .1.00 4. UK. this is probably due to the non optimal modeling of the seats and of the curtain.00 80.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater Reverberation 2. In our case we had given up with the ﬁne tuning of the model preferring to invest our time to simulate diﬀerent treatment scenarios. the results are then post processed to get octave band indexes. Some signiﬁcant discrepancies are in the low frequency range. In fact.00 40.00 70.00 1.00 80.50 time (s) clarity (dB) 0. Comparison measurements with computer model During the design stage we used the computer model to help to check between diﬀerent correction solutions.5 to 5.5 dB. The simulations were run using a particle tracing algorithm.00 60.00 10.00 Center Time 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Fig.00 160.00 0.00 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Definition 100.97 dB with minimal spatial deviations.00 20. 5. excellence values are from 4 to 5.00 D50 (%) 50.00 30. The model was able to match the overall shape of the parameters and absolute values seems to be within a reasonable range.00 2. London.00 140.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 20.00 100 0.00 -2.00 -4. since the theater The optimal values for the G index for a theater with more than 1400 seats are ranging from 1.50 EDT RT20 RT30 6.00 1.00 100 ts (ms) 120. We have to point out that in a complicated hall the ﬁne-tuning of the model can be very time-consuming. For concert hall.
London. Cremer. Schultz.00 60.00 60. Rassegna tecnica pugliese. M¨ller. The in-situ measurements and the simulations at various stages of the renovation were powerful tools for the support in the treatment choices. London (1982).00 40.00 time (s) 1.00 80. REFERENCES  A.50 1.00 30. ii (1903). 49(6): 443-471.00 -1.00 100.00 90. Vinaccia: “Il nuovo Politeama Petruzzelli”.00 20. 39. Cesena (1999).00 0.00 D50 (%) 50. June 2001  Leo Beranek.  M. Audio Eng.  M.00 3.00 clarity (dB) 2. Appl. J. 7: Comparison of acoustical parameters measured and predicted was rebuilt in a way faithful to the original the only variables available for the acoustic correction concerned the choice of materials.00 D50 Measured D50 Modeled 160.00 140.00 40. T.00 10.00 100 ts (ms) 120. 119-139 (1993).00 70. “Il Suono della Scena”. Applied Science.A. As a result the original acoustics of the hall has been restored.00 0.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 20. as is indeed the theater.50 2.00 4. “Concert Halls And Opera Houses”. The acoustics of the theater has been studied carefully using a computer model of the room.. “Princiu ples and Application of Room Acoustics”.00 Center Time ts Measured ts Modeled 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Fig. ”Transfer-Function u Measurement with Sweeps”.00 0.Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater Reverberation 3. Soc. 2010 May 22–25 Page 7 of 8 .00 80. AES 128th Convention. Facondini.00 1.  L. This has allowed to simulate the correction interventions in depth. UK.00 RT20 Measured RT20 Modeled EDT Measured EDT Modeled 5. 6. Acoust.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 C80 Measured C80 Modeled Clarity 2. “Measurement of the sound absorption coeﬃcient in situ: the reﬂection method using periodic pseudorandom sequences of maximum-length”. with the perception of a large and “rich” hall. Springer New York (2004).  S. H.00 0. but without excess and defects that had characterized past reviews of the room. Massarani.J.50 0. Garai. Il Ponte Vecchio Editore.00 100 1000 frequency (Hz) 10000 Definition 100. M¨ller and P.
AES 128th Convention. London. 2010 May 22–25 Page 8 of 8 .Facondini AND Ponteggia Acoustics of the Restored Petruzzelli Theater  H. UK. London-New York (1991). “Room Acoustics”. Elsevier Applied Science. Kuttruﬀ.
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