Skip to content
Clay Paky at the exceptional Radio Italia live event in Piazza Duomo
Lighting Designer
Giancarlo Toscani
Photo Credits
photo: Elena di Vincenzo
Related Products

ITALY – The first “Radio Italia Live” concert was held in 2012 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Radio Italia. On that occasion, the well-known radio station organized the show in Piazza Duomo in Milan for the first time. An amazing 150,000 plus people turned out for the event, which was broadcast live on Radio Italia and Video Italia and repeated on Italia 1. Since then, the organization has decided to turn the Radio Italia Live concert into a fixed appointment at the beginning of Milan’s summer calendar, and today it is one of the few public showcases for Italian music with top-ranking performers. In 2014, Biagio Antonacci, Laura Pausini, Elisa, Negramaro, Edoardo Bennato, Emma, Claudio Baglioni and Alex Britti were on stage.

Giancarlo Toscani, who was in charge of the lighting design, graphic design and art direction
, explained that “the first to the third years were marked by continuous project development: using Milan’s most central square means complying with loads of safety, environmental, and light and noise level regulations, all against the clock. Despite these limitations, this year we strongly desired to give the event a very ‘live’ look, by interpreting each of the three pieces per artist with a specific lighting design and at the same time enhancing the venue, the audience and the orchestra.”

Given the tight deadlines and the difficulty of organizing rehearsals in Piazza Duomo, it was necessary to prepare most of the art and lighting design in a studio, as well as the stage arrangement and entire rig design. Giancarlo Toscani supervised every aspect of the artistic process and harmonized the difficult coexistence between a large LED wall behind the artists and the lighting effects: “The LED wall behind the artists was essential for displaying some advertisements, but it forced me to put the lights in certain places to ‘break through’ the video. In these cases, it is essential to choose lights that stand out: the 92 Clay Paky Sharpys and 20 Sharpy Washes were a real godsend for this.”

Another big problem was the transition from dusk to darkness, which was solved by updating the LED wall brightness level every fifteen minutes “in order to smooth out the change between daytime and night-time viewing without rifts. This was only possible by managing the video content completely independently: generally speaking, I am really happy that the management of the LED wall was entirely entrusted to the lighting designer!”

This is a point Toscani got quite heated about: lighting designers should return to their original role, namely designing the stage lighting as a whole by combining video and visual effects so that everything fits into a single artistic interpretation of the music. In recent years, the two things have often been separated, almost as if they were part of different contexts, making many shows look very similar to each other. Instead, as Giancarlo Toscani puts it, “today more than ever, it is essential for the lighting designer who puts the project into practice to interpret and manage the structure, lights and video as a whole. We created special visual effects for each song in the Radio Italia Live concert, and true video clips in some cases. No graphics were retrieved from the media server libraries. My assistant, Ivan Lavezzoli, and I spent more than twenty days with the Event Management graphic designers to create them!”

Lastly Giancarlo Toscani spent a word or two on Clay Paky’s latest offspring: the award-winning A.leda B-EYE K20, an extraordinary LED wash light which is rapidly spreading to stages all around the world.
“In agreement with Radio Italia, we decided to be the first large production in Italy to use A.leda B-EYEs massively. I installed them as front lighting, around the edge of the curved proscenium, so that they met the needs of both the audience in the square and the TV viewers. The B-EYEs were used in every possible way: as wash lights, as beam lights and for visual effects. It is an incredibly versatile, bright light, which stood out well despite the brightness of the background LED wall. The shape functions took a good deal of work off my hands and let me program very beautiful, original effects in half the time.”
We completed the rig with 120 other lights including Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s, Alpha Spot HPE 700s, Alpha Wash 700s and Alpha Profile 1500s, as well as other LED and conventional lights.

The lights for the Radio Italia Live concert were provided by Audiolux. The event was produced by Radio Italia, in the person of Gaetano Notaro, and directed by Lele Biscussi.

Giancarlo Toscani’s website is at: