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Lighting Designer
Roberto Mezzi
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ITALY – Fiorello is back on the theatre stage with a new show called “L’ora del Rosario” (a play on words meaning Time to Pray the Rosary but also Time for Rosario, the showman’s first name). The star himself defines it as analogical, consisting of pure entertainment. Clay Paky lights stand out on the stage.

Besides the anecdotes, stories and gags in perfect Fiorello style, the showman leaves plenty of room for his usual improvisation. The two-hour show covers many topics, ranging from the unfailing references to current events, to comments on today’s habits. There is of course music, including original duets with top ranking artists like Mina, and Tony Renis.

Enrico Cremonesi’s band accompanies Fiorello on stage, along with the “I Gemelli di Guidonia” vocal trio, which was launched in Italy by a radio show called “Fuori Programma” on Radio Uno.

The show lighting is designed by Roberto Mezzi, who has worked with Agora (the service company that provided all the sound, lighting and video systems for Fiorello’s production) for several years.

Roberto Mezzi suggested that producer, Giampiero Solari, should use a simple lighting layout in keeping with the special stage set designed for the show. “It is a black box marked out by the wings and movable projection screens. There is projection equipment, but the dominating visual impact is that of a black box. It has to be all black. When the videos are turned off, you have the idea of a totally black box illuminated by our Clay Paky lights.”

The box marked out on the stage is large. “Let’s say that we are working with a 15 yard (14 m) wide, 11 yard (10 m) deep set.” Furthermore, when the panels (fixed to overhead rails on the battens) open and close, the musicians enter the stage riding on motorized platforms on tracks.

Who designed the set?

“The set was designed by Paolo Manti from Scenic space. It can be assembled and moved around. He is also a great stage manager.”

“It is a fairly classic set structure, with screens that cover the entire seven-yard-high (6.40 m) moving panel surfaces, and the various platform blocks. It is a very clever, practical system. The screens are arranged on two different levels, and there are two on the forestage, which act as wings. Behind those there are four others which make up a single backdrop or open up in front of a dark backdrop illuminated with LEDs.”

It was not easy to find the right lighting balance between the black box on the stage, the videos and the one-man show: “First of all, it was necessary to light the various areas of the set with very narrow light beams, and program lighting effects for the choral interludes.”

Our choice fell on various Clay Paky lights: Sharpy Wash 330s, Alpha Spot HPE 700s and Alpha Beam 700s are used for the back-lighting stage effects, and are placed on the stage.

The small Sharpy Wash 330s illuminate the stage evenly, together with the backdrop. “In any case, as the tour goes on night after night, I will tweak the show programming.”

Roberto Mezzi says: “I only use three battens in the classic positions. One at the front, on the forestage, another in the middle of the stage, and the third one for back-lighting.

All the lights on the first batten are Alpha Spot HPE 700s used to illuminate the panels on the forestage, and the musicians when they enter the stage dynamically. I alternated wash lights and spotlights on the second batten, and the back batten too.”

Rosario Fiorello wrote the show with Francesco Bozzi, Claudio Fois, Piero Guerrera, Pierluigi Montebelli and Federico Taddia. Giampiero Solari is the producer.