Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012
by Philips Vari-Lite

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Philips Vari-Lite luminaires have been specified by lighting designer Marc Heinz for Utrechtse Spelen’s stunning portrayal of Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. Directed by Jos Thie, Orfeo ed Euridice was performed at the former home of the late queen Juliana - the stunning Soestdijk Palace, Utrecht, Holland.

Staged on water, the set comprises a ‘floating’ orchestra pit, the stage and a system of underwater catwalks. Although Heinz has designed for a number of large-scale operas performed in stadiums and arenas across Europe, working on water in a protected area presented a number of never experienced before challenges.

“We worked closely with ecologists to ensure the natural environment wasn’t damaged by the production in anyway. In terms of the lighting we worked under very stringent rules. Our nighttime working hours were rigorously regulated. I was asked not to hit certain areas with the light – not even reflections from the water.”

Heinz chose to specify Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash and VL3500Q Spot luminaires as the backbone of his lighting rig.

“I wanted everything hidden from view, so that the audience could feel the magic of the opera and it’s setting without distraction,” explains Heinz. “This meant positioning luminaires in some quite unusual locations - for example, some of the VL3500Q Spots were positioned with the lens almost parallel with the water.”

In addition once a decision was made about the position of a fixture it had to be committed to 100%, there were no opportunities to change your mind. This added further pressure on Heinz when deciding where to position the fixtures themselves.

“Every decision was absolute and completely irreversible,” says Heinz. “Everything you put in or under the water couldn’t be changed or replaced once positioned. All equipment would be outdoors for almost two months and the Dutch summers are not really known for their hours of sunshine. What I required was the best reliability available. That’s why I decided to use VARI-LITE for this particular project. Their reliability, output and color mixing made them the ideal fixtures to achieve our artistic goals for this performance. But also for theatre, events and TV, I appreciate these qualities very much.”

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