Cut View of the New Opera at Stuttgart (Theaters – The Stuttgart Playhouse Plate I)
During the 17th century, opera house design evolved significantly. By the 18th century, the practice of acoustic design had emerged an important aspect of successful theater design. With testing, it was determined that a curved elongated auditorium with balconies, composed of boxes and galleries lined-up vertically, would reduce the sound absorption of the audience. The balconies were not connected to the proscenium, and their decoration was in the Baroque Style, whose many curves helped to deflect the sound around the auditorium. This manipulation of sound was crucial before the invention of microphones and speakers. This acoustic engineering practice of using curves or baffles is still applied today. A local example of this practice is Baker Hall in the Zoellner Arts Center, which features curved panels enfolding the stage area.
Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Encyclopédie. Volume 10, Theaters – The Stuttgart Playhouse (Théâtres – La salle de Stutgard) Plate I: Cut View of the New Opera at Stuttgart.
Paris: Briasson [etc.], 1751-1772