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Clay Paky illuminates the Tones on the Stones Festival

Clay Paky illuminates the Tones on the Stones Festival
Clay Paky illuminates the Tones on the Stones Festival

Italy – Tones on the Stones has renewed its partnership with Clay Paky for the third year running. The Festival was held in the Cava Bianco Montorfano (White Montorfano Quarry), near Verbania. The main attraction this year was Cavalleria Rusticana, directed by Alberto Paloscia. Sergio Licursi was theatrical director and lighting designer. The leading actors were Maddalena Calderoni, who was also the Festival's artistic director, and Hamadi Lagha as Turiddu.

Lorenzo Pagella, who stood out in last year's lighting designer contest organised as part of the Festival by Clay Paky, worked with Sergio Licursi. We spoke to him about the difficulties he encountered and how they were solved: “There were problems with the power supply, so we had to give up on using high positions. Our first choice was therefore to put all the lights on the ground and leave the backdrop completely clear so that it could be used as a screen for video projections from a powerful 30,000 ANSI lumen projector.”

“Our second choice was to limit our scope. Since the quarry shelves mark out a natural – almost theatrical – stage within the quarry itself, it was automatic to limit the set design to that area and place the lights away from the walls. In this way, it was also possible to illuminate the surrounding walls themselves.”

In the end, he opted to install some Alpha Wash 1500s behind the control desk to colour the front lighting, in addition to some Alpha Spot HPE 700s and 2000W incandescent lights. A dozen Sharpys were placed around the edges of the natural stage, as well as some Alpha Spot HPE 700s and A.leda Wash K20s, which also served as background lighting.

“I put together the most varied possible assortment for the front lights, so that I could have washlight, spotlight and keylight options," Lorenzo continued. “The A.leda Wash K20s and HPE 700s allowed me to play with diffuse lighting also as side lighting and back lighting on the audience, while the Sharpys were mostly used to create tangential side lighting that lit up the staircase of quarry shelves in an unusual way.”

It is clear from the set that installing and positioning the lights cannot have been easy: “The quarry floor slopes both forwards and to the right. The shelves are different widths and heights and even the light beams created false optical perspectives: the light from a spotlight pointing downwards seemed in reality to converge upwards! It was therefore necessary to calculate a different angle for each light so that it made the set look level. Arranging the lights absolutely symmetrically over the entire available area helped me in this, not to mention the great versatility of Clay Paky lights, which are perfectly reliable even in extreme conditions, such as in a quarry, where they were exposed a lot to dust clouds and high temperatures.”

One noteworthy creative idea was to frame the conductor with light and project his moving shadow onto the facing white quarry wall.

The equipment was controlled using a Compulite Vector UltraViolet + Playback Wing for the upper quarry and a Pathway Cognito 2 for the small stage in the lower quarry.

Saturday was the evening of "Nextones", the section devoted to the digital arts and new music, especially electronic music in its many forms and combinations. It also included the light show contest for young lighting designers, organised by Clay Paky together with the Festival production team. It is the only project in Italy that aims to offer young lighting designers a training opportunity and help them start on their professional careers.

During the evening, the four finalists, selected during the workshops held two weeks earlier at Clay Paky's headquarters, competed in a lighting effects contest before the watching eyes of a prestigious jury. The audience was also able to vote for their favourite lighting designer, who turned out to be Federico Caroli from Cernusco sul Naviglio (Milan).

The project also takes place thanks to the support of the Unione Industriali della Provincia di Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Industrialists' Association) and is sponsored by AILD, the Italian Association of Lighting Designers. The media partner was, which followed every minute and documented the Festival moment by moment through its own media channel.

The Festival ended on Sunday with "American Sweet". This event consisted of the Tones on the Stones brass band, conducted by Maestro Stefano Seghedoni, together with the Roberto Olzer Trio (Roberto Olzer on the piano, Yuri Goloubev on the double bass and Mauro Beggio on drums). The result was an unusual combination of symphonic music and jazz improvisation.

Clay Paky's lights obviously helped enhance the setting for this prestigious show too.

The Tones on the Stones Festival is increasingly seen as a landmark event on the Verbano summer calendar and as a breeding ground for new talent among young lighting designers. It is also frequented by many fans from transalpine countries and even from faraway Argentina!

30th July 2015

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