Robe was the moving light of choice for the 2022 Saaremaa Opera Festival staged in a purpose-built tented arena erected beside the charismatic Kuressaare Castle in the south of Saaremaa Island, Estonia, which was the dramatic location for five days of popular opera and other performances, all presented this year by the Silesian Opera (Opera Śląska) from Bytom, Poland.
The substantial venue measured 30 metres wide by 60 metres long and accommodated 8000 guests over five days. The event was organised by Eesti Concert and saw a repertoire programme comprising operas “Romeo & Juliet” and “La Traviata”, a gala show, a Mozart evening with a ballet production of his “Requiem” and a specially created children’s opera.
Polish LD Dominik Ksol created a production lighting design to cover all five shows, and was assisted in Estonia by Andres Sarv and Tõnis Järs from E&T, the local rental company supplying the lighting including the 67 x Robes luminaires, which comprised 2 x BMFL WashBeams and two BMFL Blades, 15 x MMX Blades, 18 x LEDWash 800s and 9 x MMX Spots for the moving lights, plus 21 x ParFect SW (smart white) LED PARs.
All these fixtures were selected for their intensity, colours, quietness, reliability, and the general flexibility they brought to the 28-metre wide by 15-metre-deep stage, which also featured a large upstage LED screen.
Andres and Tõnis received Dominik’s lighting plot and started replicating it with the kit that was available from E&T. Onsite they worked with a full lighting crew of 12 for the get in and the rigging period, with four lighting technicians staying on as show running crew.
The four BMFLs were all on the advanced truss just above the audience front rows and were used for key lighting and specials.
The MMX Blades were on the advanced bar and LX 1 – the latter being the furthest downstage of the overhead trusses – and also on the offstage ends of LX2 and LX3 (LX3 being in the mid-stage position).
The MMX Blades augmented the BMFLs for specials and key lighting in specific positions and were an ideal fixture for this with their good range of whites and soft quality of light which was perfect.
The MMX Spots – still a very popular fixture in the Baltics – were deployed on LX2, LX3 and on the offstage edges of LX4 at the back, usable for both front and back highlighting.
The LEDWash 800s, another Robe fixture that has had a long and successful career on the rental market … were on the advanced bar plus LX3, LX4 and LX5, deployed for stage washes, a task they completed with finesse and a fabulous range of colours. They were needed to cover the substantial stage areas and different sets.
Twelve of the ParFects were at the back on LX4 with the remaining nine far upstage bar, a cluster of 6 x ParFects over to stage left, illuminating the set and upstage activities, with the other three on stage right for general lighting.
All these lights and a few other generic profiles were programmed and run on a grandMA2 operated by Dominik.
Eesti Kontsert’s technical production manager was Arno Jevgrafov and the general manager was Kertu Orro.
For everyone involved in Saaremaa Opera Festival 2022, it felt amazing and very special to be back and working on this important Estonian music festival after two years of enforced absence due to Covid. Once again, opera lovers were able to enjoy some superlative performances and quality production values in the unique setting of this Baltic Sea island known for its beaches, spas and traditional villages!
Photos: By Gunnar Laak