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Robe lights Israeli production of Aida

Ian McMurray 1 July 2011
Robe lights Israeli production of Aida

Robe moving lights were the primary moving light fixtures used for the Israeli Opera’s "Aida" at the 2011 Dead Sea & Jerusalem Opera Festival, a co-production with the Les Choragies d’Orange in France, staged in the outdoor purpose-built amphitheatre at the foot of Masada Mountain by the Dead Sea, Israel.

As with the first Masada event in 2010, for which the whole site was built in the rocky desert terrain, lighting for the production was created by Avi Yona Bueno, with the majority of the performance lighting equipment supplied by UK-based rental company HSL, including all the Robes.

Robe was again specified not only because they fulfilled the design requirements – with 96 of Robe’s most powerful 2500 series units chosen because of the long throw distances of up to 80 metres – but also because, as was noted the previous year, they stood up well to the harsh desert operating conditions. Robe has, according to the company, been selected for numerous projects around the globe because its fixtures can withstand not only heat, dust and wind but also other challenging weather conditions.

The lights were rigged and in position for over four weeks by the time the last show finished, during which time the Robes were virtually trouble-free. Eighty of the 96 ColorSpot 2500E ATs were rigged on two massive side stage left and right trussing gantries, with 16 on the front of house gantry at the back of the bleacher seating.

Twenty Robe ROBIN 600 LEDWashes were used to light four sphinx set pieces stage left and right; some of the fixtures were recessed into parts of the set itself. It was the first time that Avi Yona Bueno had used LEDWash 600s."Fantastic,” he said. “Very bright and a good range of colours.”

Twelve Robe RedWash 3?192s were rigged beneath the stage and set. These were utilised as strong back light sources for the entrance/exit door below the 12 metre high Pharaoh’s head, which was the main set centrepiece, and also under a large hydraulic trap that opened during the tomb scene, complete with apocalyptic blast of super bright light.

The ColorSpot 2500E ATs were fitted with special custom reflectors which were developed by Robe specially for last year’s "Nabucco" production at Masada, which boost the light output by a further 30%.

Avi Yona Bueno also used some tailor-made square and rectangular gobos in some of the fixtures, which framed the beams really tightly, facilitating his need to pinpoint very precise areas of the stage at times, particularly when he was filling and matching lighting in and around areas of video projection onto the stage.

He also had custom dot gobos made up and fitted into 24 of the ColorSpots for the final scene. This allowed the stage to be synchronised with a spectacular ‘Galaxy effect’ he created with 900 twinkling LED panels which had been rigged by special climbing teams off the 600 metre face of Masada Mountain itself, creating a unique and dramatic ‘wow!’ factor to close the show in considerable style.

Using the Robes and all these special customisations enabled Avi Yona Bueno to sculpt an intricate and intense lighting process that followed and helped the drama unfold onstage, gradually becoming starker and more raw as the story played out.

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