When Conductor Grigori PenteleÃ®tchouk originally commissioned his production of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for a small classical music festival in 2009, he did not envision how far it could actually go. Due to its overwhelming success, Producer Franck Dompietrini and Maestro, PenteleÃ¯tchouk, decided to take an exploded version of the production across France and play to the largest audiences possible. As the show now moves across France, Belgian lighting designer Francis Mannaert is using VARI*LITE VL3000 Spot and Wash Luminaires to create a dynamic, supernatural lightscape behind the hauntingly evocative music of Carmina Burana.
“I needed the VARI*LITE fixtures for key, back and side lighting because they gave me the punch I was looking for,” began Mannaert. “There are no props or scenery on stage except for a painted cyclorama that represents the elements earth, wind, fire, water and air. My mission was to bring the images and colors of the cyc out into three-dimensional space while avoiding the trap of delivering a pop or rock style light show.”
“Setting out to accomplish his goals, Mannaert says that the VL3000 Spot Luminaires offered him boundless creative possibilities. “I chose the fixtures for their sharp bright beams, smooth dimming and rich color, all absolutely crucial in ensuring the playing environment was sculptural and atmospheric. Plus, the VARI*LITE gobos combined with accurate focusing allowed me to create specific, dynamic looks that worked with the music and the movement of the dancers.”
With 228 artists, technicians and production staff on the road, the show has toured to some of the largest venues in France including The Zenith, with audiences ranging from 2000 to 4000.
My biggest artistic challenge is to ensure that all the performers have a perfect view of one another and of the conductor,” explains Mannaert. “The choirs stand on each side of stage on risers and the ballet performance is staged in between, with the orchestra at the front. With a choir of 66, orchestra of 56 and 30 dancers, lighting was crucial. Not only to create the atmosphere of the piece, but ultimately to its successful delivery.”
Mannaert also says he has been a Philips Vari-Lite user for many years, “I started using VARI*LITE fixtures at the Belgian Eurovision Song Contest back in 1987. As head of lighting for Béjart Ballet Lausanne for more than 10 years, I used them in my designs as possible. It was there that I also met Laurent and Serge Begnis, owners of PAN-POT, who are the lighting and sound company that has supplied the lighting kit for this tour. For Laurent Begnis there is no other luminaire than a VARI*LITE luminaire and it seems we were destined to meet and work together!”
As a leading designer and manufacturer of premiere automated lighting systems, Philips Vari-Lite provides equipment and services to the entertainment industry, serving such markets as concert touring, theatre, television, film, cruise lines, houses-of-worship, and corporate events. VARI*LITE automated lighting systems are available through a worldwide network of independent professional dealers. For more information, visit www.vari-lite.com.