Sound Designer Sebastian Frost Provides a Transformative Experience for Audiences
CARDIFF, WALES, NOVEMBER 28, 2023 ― Welsh National Opera has put on powerful performances for audiences across South Wales for the past 75 years. The historic organization performs a range of shows from smaller productions to those with hundreds of people, some of which require additional audio equipment. The opera house brought on Sound Designer Sebastian Frost to help with the audio on various productions, such as Kiss Me Kate, Migrations and most recently, Candide.
To showcase the orchestra, which was on stage behind the performers during the production of Candide, Frost knew he needed microphones that would provide a consistent, clean sound. The sound designer chose to close mic all the high strings using DPA Microphones’ 4099 Instrument Microphone and put the rest of the orchestra on the 2012 Compact Cardioid Microphone. He also used a 4055 Kick Drum Microphone for the show. For the theater’s production of Migrations last year, Frost deployed DPA’s 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid and 4011 Cardioid Condenser Microphones.
“The microphones provide an enormous level of conformity and smoothness in terms of sound,” says Frost. “They make it much quicker and easier, especially with an opera schedule that has no previews and very few dress rehearsals. By using one brand across the board, you know how the mics are going to respond and react. Plus, it helps keep everything in the same sound space to get an even, smooth coverage of the orchestra, which is ideal.”
The durability of the microphones has proven to be an important feature for Frost. “DPA microphones are incredibly reliable. I think that is a big reason why I continually specify DPA,” he explains. “I have been using DPA Microphones for a very long time; I know the mics are always going to do the job. It is second nature for me at this point to know which microphone to use in each environment and situation.”
For Welsh National Opera’s production of Candide, Frost explained his choice to use DPA’s instrument and cardioid mics. “I love the coverage patterns, they’re even and controlled,” he shares. “The frequency response of the 2012s allows me to use the same microphone throughout the orchestra, and the 4099s are absolutely the standard for close miking. I would not choose any other brand.”
No matter the production, Frost says he will continue to use DPA Microphones. “I tend to send a lot of fallback down to the orchestra, and the DPA microphones respond beautifully well because of their tight coverage patterns,” he says. “Using only DPA also makes for a much better performance and provides a really great experience that audiences love.”
Frost trained at the Guildhall School of Music Drama before setting out as a sound designer for both corporate and theater companies, including West End and Broadway. Prior to joining Welsh National Opera, Frost was involved in immersive shows at Secret Cinema in London and served as the sound designer for 20 years with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an annual series of musical performances by the British armed forces. He has designed the sound for hundreds of productions and shows no signs of stopping.
Welsh National Opera has been bringing the power, drama and raw emotion of opera to audiences since it was first founded in 1943. With a strong history and roots in the communities of South Wales, the organization aims to entertain and inspire audiences while putting on a transformative experience for those watching. Welsh National Opera’s 2023-2024 season includes powerful shows like Ainadamar, La traviata and Così fan tutte.