Wexford Opera Creates High Drama Using Philips Selecon PL3 Luminaires
Friday, January 6, 2012 4:00 am
by Philips Strand Lighting

For any lighting designer, setting the scene for three distinct operas during a busy repertory season invariably presents its own set of challenges. Such was the creative task for Declan Randall, lighting designer for Wexford Opera’s 60th Anniversary season, where he elected to use Philips Selecon PL3 LED Luminaires to overcome those challenges.

“My rig has to be both flexible and reliable,” explains Randall. “I’m keen to use new technology where appropriate and this year I decided to incorporate LED luminaires into my design. For me the application of color and hue is one of my most critical design tools. Lighting three distinctly different operas; the French opera La Cour De Celimene, the Polish opera Maria and the Italian opera Gianni Di Parigi, presented me with a variety of design challenges. The PL3 fixtures provided me a ‘get out of jail free card’ on a number of occasions.”

“Originally, I’d planned to only use the PL3 lights for one of the operas; Maria. Set during the grimy, grey, bleak realism of the Polish revolution, the director wanted to cast ominous shadows of the players on stage to emphasize the more abstract, surreal moments in the story. The PL3 gave us the option to introduce color change into those shadows.”

Additionally, Randall used four of the PL3 fixtures, rigged on the pit rail, for up-lighting.

“The PL3 is as effective when using strong saturated colors as they are when more subtle tints are required. At one point I used them to simulate a police flashing light effect. We did a combination of fluctuating color in red and blue, and also used varying intensity to create the random flashing of lights. It worked brilliantly.”

So impressed was Randall, that he decided to use of the PL3 luminaires in all three operas.

“La Cour De Celimene featured a rather quirky design. The show took place on a double-raked stage that both tilted and lifted, which had wrap-around walls and a ceiling; not the easiest thing to light. Here, I used the PL3 fixtures to create the atmosphere of a candle-lit space with the lower angle helping to cast evocative shadows onto the walls. I also focused two of the four pit units onto the ceiling of the set and used the color temperature shift to subtly alter the color of the space and thereby change the mood in the room. Two of the fixtures were focused to light up faces, while another was mounted in the set and used to light the ceiling when it was not possible to use the pit rail units.”

“The third opera, Gianni Di Parigi, was naturalistically staged, with lighting that tracked the time of day from sunrise to sunset, and then into the night through to sunrise on the second day. I didn’t originally intend to use the PL3 here, but again found that they were really useful. I used them as fill lights for the scenery and to help support the time-of-day lighting. I also used one fixture to simulate a camera flash because the bright, white light was intense and responded quickly enough to be hugely convincing.”

With all three designs in place, Randall is now convinced that lighting designers around the world will find the Philips Selecon PL3 luminiare to be an extremely useful and powerful lighting solution.

“I was really impressed with the PL3 fixtures output. I’d only ever seen them in a trade-show environment and that never gives a true sense of what can be achieved. Output and the color mixing range are excellent, as is the zoom range. Another big advantage is the range of color vs. output. It’s fantastic to have lights in the rig that don’t sacrifice output when we use saturated color tones!”

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