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Lighting Designer
Yves Aucoin
Photo Credits
Tomasz Rossa, George Bodnar
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Three years of entertainment, for one great show crafted to the finest detail and illuminated by 60 Stage Profile Plus SVs, the new moving body beam shapers. Celine Dion’s show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will certainly leave its mark in the history of show business. Intentions are clear simply from the choice of location: a space holding 4000 seats built in the heart of the city, in a famous Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, designed and built exclusively for this artist’s show.

Celine Dion will be performing on a 36 x 24 meter stage, along with her 12-piece band, 48 dancers, a mega LED screen and an impressive lighting system masterminded by Yves Aucoin, Celine’s Lighting Designer for 14 years. So to accompany this superstar, unanimously acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful voices, Yves has added his own “star”, Stage Profile Plus SV, Clay Paky’s professional moving body beam shaper.

After all, only a city like Las Vegas makes you think this big! The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which took two years to build and cost $95 million, will be hosting “A New Day….” 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year for three years. This show is a spectacular fusion of music, dance and theater, all merged and dramatized by Yves’s dynamic and breathtaking lighting design.

During the planning of the show, Aucoin was invited by Celine Dion’s husband and manager, René Angélil, and director and stage designer Franco Dragone – director of many critically-acclaimed shows by “Cirque du Soleil”. Right from the start, Aucoin saw this show as a new challenge: “We needed a more theatrical approach, unlike other lighting designs used for Celine’s concerts in the past. I had already illuminated events in theaters, stadiums and arenas, so it was simply a question of designing a totally new level”.

The aim was to create a dynamic light show with a series of moving body luminaires, which took the lighting designer 4 months to design and program. ”This is an extremely varied design, full of special effects and movement: I took time to study Celine’s tracks and gave my own interpretation. I wanted to give light a “personality”, making it an integral part of the theatrical performance”.

Aucoin has depended on Clay Paky technology for many years now: in fact scanners engineered by this Italian company have been used in all of Celine Dion’s tours over the past few years. Before “A New Day…”, the Canadian Lighting Designer met managers from Clay Paky in Canada, where he could see Stage Profile Plus SV in action. “I could see the precision of the beam shaper effect: its clear-cut triangular and quadrilateral shapes, of even large dimensions, can be transformed in many different ways and rotated on a 90° angle. The beam shaper blades move smoothly and linearly and never jolt. They can even be operated from a control desk, creating original effects like the “curtain” effect with a single blade, which is handy in theatrical performances”.

Yves also pointed out the operating silence of Profile Plus, which is extremely useful for any theatrical backdrop. “When up to 200 mobile body luminaires are all working at once, the noise made by the internal cooling fans can be a problem”, explains Aucoin, “so the silence of these products is a real advantage.”

Aucoin listed a series of features required for designing “A New Day….”: the possibility of generating shapes of any kind, the versatility of color mixing, the rich morphing effect (made by overlapping two gobo wheels), the prisms and frost varieties. “These luminaires played a powerful role in show, with the kind of quality that we have and will be seeing in the future, show after show, for three years running.”

The results of all that work in planning the show down to the finest detail were evident right from the opening night of “A New Day….” on 25 March 2003, when Celine Dion performed to a packed theatre with her cast of 70 musicians, dancers and performers. Yves Aucoin adds: ”Over the four months of rehearsals and live performances, the Stage Profile Plus projectors worked flawlessly. The only catch is to have to change the lamps at the end of their life, yet even here Clay Paky has given us all the necessary support. This product is extremely reliable and versatile: certainly the best moving body beam shaper on the market.”