Mariinsky Theatre Invests in Catalyst for Ring Cycle

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: August 6, 2009

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ST. PETERSBURG—UK Catalyst distributor SNP Productions has supplied three Catalyst  v4 PRO media servers in custom SNP designed Catalyst system flightcases to the Mariinsky Theatre from St Petersburg for their production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

The company, under the artistic direction of Valery Gergiev, performed all four operas in Das ring des Nibelungen on consecutive evenings at the Royal Opera House in London. In this latest staging of the production, projection has been added as a key visual element.


SNP’s Simon Pugsley built and supplied the fully configured Catalyst system complete with a remote KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) monitoring solution, a key factor in the specification from Mesmer’s projection designer, Sven Ortel. Ortel, who has used Catalyst on many previous projects, wanted a flexible “plug and play” touring solution. The package, which has been purchased by the theatre so it can be used in their future work, also included Cat5 cabling, fiber links and RGBHV distribution.

The set, designed by George Tsypin, is dominated by four monumental sculptures of giants, surrounded by 3 walls. Projections are used to bring the giants to life and  integrate them into the stage action and dramaturgy of the Ring.

Two Barco 18K projectors are positioned at FOH and fed by one Catalyst system, with four Barco DLM digital moving lights positioned on the proscenium bridge, driven by the other two. Running on 44 video layers in total they project special effects, texturing and movement, plus literal elements like fire, water, lightening etc. onto the floor, set and giants, all of which needed careful masking. The Catalyst handled this, and also sped through tech rehearsals, since the crew was only given five days to tech 15 hours of opera.
This latest production opened in St Petersburg earlier in July, and due to a demanding production schedule, Ortel and his team evolved the video content freestyle, using a lot of grabbing, programming and editing on-the-fly. For Ortel, this was an exhilarating and stimulating way to work, but would have been “impossible” to achieve without Catalyst.

A grandMA full size control desk was used to program the show. It triggers the Catalyst servers, which are located near the different projection positions at FOH and onstage.

ArtNet, KVM and network distribution is achieved using Cat 5 looms to each Catalyst server from the FOH control position. A 6U rack houses gigabit switches and KVM receivers FOH, with the KVM transmitters built in to each Catalyst System flightcase.

Video signals are distributed locally by RGBHV (to the Barco DML projectors) and via DVI fibre from FOH to the projectors. Two of the new Artistic Licence Etherlynx II devices are utilised for ArtNet to DMX conversion to the DML’s SNP Custom DVI & VGA output panel.

Each Catalyst server has local mouse keyboard and 24 inch LCD screen. Output to the KVM is scaled by a TV-One 1T-VS-558 Analogue-Digital Cross converter Scaler,  to enable remote viewing on 6 x 17 inch LCDs, mouse and Keyboard, located at the FOH control position.

The Catalyst system was supplied fully flightcased by SNP — including the three Catalyst v4 PRO servers in their system flightcases, the six 24 inch LCDs in dual flightcases, and the six 17-inch LCDs in dual inserts that fit inside the main Catalyst system flightcases.

“The ROH crew were extremely impressed by the new Catalyst racks,” said Ortel, adding that the service from SNP is “excellent”.

SNP also supplied two cable trunks and the 6U FOH control rack. The whole system was tested and configured in the U.K. before being shipped to St Petersburg prior to opening of the revamped production.

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