New sound design and the return of the harp
When asked to instill a new life into the score of Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, Charlottetown Festival Music Director Bob Foster went right to the harp, bringing in Janice Lindskoog. “In many ways, the harp is the musical heart of the sound and is a beautifully written part,” he says. There are now 14 musicians in the pit.
Lindskoog says “I play the imaginative orchestrations by John Fenwick, which contribute special colours and allow for musical expression in the accompaniment of the voice.”
The musical world has changed a lot since Anne™ first premiered, and so has the listener’s ear. With advanced systems in every home now, people are used to a certain quality and a theatre can no longer rely only on its acoustic sound. Foster and Director Adam Brazier brought in Peter McBoyle, a sound design expert, to help with this shift.
McBoyle desired to present the score in a richer way and bring out the nuances in the strings and the woodwinds. He also wanted to clarify the actors’ mics, so that every lyric would be heard crisply.
One challenge was the large number of hats worn this year. Says McBoyle “The sound reflects off the hat and makes a great sounding mic sound not as sharp as it could be…[but] we found ways to work things out. I think that sonically the funeral procession in Act 2 is something I am most proud of,” he says. “The orchestration is really something special and the addition of a little bit of rain and a distant thunder makes it beautiful, sad, and thoughtful all at once.”
“Of course, adding the live harp back in to the pit was a great decision for a variety of reasons and I’ve developed a mic technique that really makes the harp sound full and dynamic…I am very happy with how it sounds in the mix.”
Patrons can hear and see Anne™ in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre until September 23.