The bi-annual Classical Spectacular, held for six performances in London’s Royal Albert Hall in November, demonstrated its continuing use of cutting-edge lighting technology by deploying the first Claypaky Xtylos used in the UK. The Xtylos is the first moving head with a laser light source.
The crowd-pleasing show now known as the Classical Spectacular debuted in October 1988 and has been marked by perennial extravaganzas – lasers, lighting effects, fireworks – accompanying a classical music repertoire.
Lighting Designer Durham Marenghi joined the Classical Spectacular family 30 years ago in an era before there were moving lights. But Marenghi quickly began to introduce lighting innovations, including many lighting fixtures used in rock ’n roll but new to the concert hall. He designs a new architecture for the lighting rig every two or three years using the best technology on the market to keep pace with a production that lives up to its name in its spectacular size and scale.
This year’s Classical Spectacular, once again produced by Raymond Gubbay Limited, featured Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and patriotic favorites.
New to the show this season were nine Claypaky Xtylos, which Marenghi featured on the prow of the new rig. The Xtylos is a compact beam moving light with a tailor-made laser source. Its RGB additive color mixing means colored light beams are as bright as a white light beam, and a wide array of effects are produced with two gobo wheels.
Claypaky fixtures dominated the rig and numbered 12 Scenius Spots, four Scenius Unicos, eight Mythos2, 48 Sharpy Wash 330s and 16 Sharpys.
Marenghi recalls the advent of the Sharpy in 2011 as “a major introduction” to the rig; he later added the Sharpy Wash, with its ability to go from beam to flood, for extra versatility.
Subsequent Claypaky fixtures have also made their mark with Scenius, in particular, making “a massive difference” with its new Osram lamp, great optics and gobos. Marenghi also finds that Scenius, Unico and Mythos handle the hall’s substantial throw distances “with ease.”
AC-ET is the Claypaky distributor for the United Kingdom.