The introduction of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, enforced for entertainment in 2008, has resulted in music exposure based High Court Cases. Currently, there is no viable acoustic solution to improve the environment for musicians in orchestra pits with all recent research focused on auditorium acoustics. Thus, the long tradition of excellence in live performance is at risk in the UK. A new approach is needed which rather than trying to reduce the sound could redistribute the sound allowing more music to escape the orchestra pit and hence reach the audience and the conductor.
The key issue for the Royal Opera House was that very limited space was available, there being no room to retrofit any traditional acoustic solution. The research presented will show how metamaterials were developed which would diffuse broadband sound using ultra-thin panels, and how simulations predicted more music would leave the pit. This solution has yet to be implemented, due to COVID, but is seen as having great potential. Metamaterials have wider applications that go well beyond live performance applications.
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