FNB Starlight Pop Opera lights up Chris Saunders Park
SOUTH AFRICA: Each year First National Bank in South Africa hosts the Starlight Pop Opera, an event that serves to thank the bank’s top 1,500 clients with an evening of music. This year’s event was held in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal at Chris Saunders Park and was headlined by Patrizio Buanne and featured performances from South African artists such as Arno Carstens, all of whom were accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. For the fifth year in a row, EPH Production was contracted to provide the full technical setup, while Johan Ferreira of BF Production Services served as the lighting designer for the event.
Using an MA Lighting grandMA2 console, Mr Ferreira controlled a lighting rig that comprised a combination of Robe and Clay Paky fixtures. This included 10 Robe Pointes, 18 Robin 600 LEDWashes, 12 Robin 1000 LEDBeams, 10 Robin 100 LEDBeams, 24 Clay Paky Sharpys and six MAC 401 Dual LED washes. The MA Lighting, Robe and Clay Paky equipment was all sourced via the South African distributor for all three brands, DWR Distribtuion.
‘The design starts long in advance,’ explained Mr Ferreira. ‘Leon Pheiffer from EPH has a close relationship with the client and after many discussions provides me with a brief. We are always trying to move the event to the next level and my goal is to achieve a clean design, pleasing to both the client and audience.’
The Robin 600 LEDWash fixtures delivered onstage wash and were rigged on the stage trusses, while the Robe Pointes and Clay Paky Sharpys were used to create beams and effects on the stage. ‘The Robin 100 LEDBeam were used from the sides. It is small enough to fit anywhere in the rig and powerful enough to create eye pleasing vivid beams,’ Mr Ferreira added. ‘I used the Robin 1000 LEDBeams as FOH and for backlight.’
Although the client will input ideas for the show, Mr Ferreira is given plenty of creative freedom. Meanwhile, the staging poses a challenge as it is dome shaped, which doesn’t lend itself well to simple rigging. ‘Fortunately we have worked with this structure for a number of years and know how to overcome the challenges,’ the lighting designer offered. ‘What I really enjoy is doing the full design from set to A/V screen layout and lighting. This gives me the opportunity to ensure that every aspect of the design works in perfect unison.
‘MA really helps designers to achieve their vision and make it reality,’ Mr Ferreira continued. ‘For me MA Lighting is the best lighting control out there. I love every aspect of the console as it is customisable to any LD and to any environment.’
Despite tight deadlines, the lighting designer and the team from EPH were able to get the lighting rig up and running in time. ‘Every member took care to ensure that my design was executed in time and with perfection. We did not have a lot of time to get the entire rig up and running but thanks to the motivated crew we were show ready well before the first full rehearsal with the orchestra and international artists,’ said Mr Ferreira. ‘As a lighting designer this show is one of my annual highlights. It’s dynamic, ranging from opera to full on rock and is a world class event enjoyed by everyone involved.’