Lighting designer Durham Marenghi is using 250 Robe ColorWash 1200 ATs in Torino’s Stadio Olympico for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics and the opening of the Paralympics.

One hundred and thirty of the fixtures are rigged in a technical trough running all around the perimeter of the 200m x 60m performance/parade area on the floor of the stadium, sitting at approximately 1.5m off the ground.

The same trough arrangement continues around a large “tongue” platform protruding from the front of the stage that’s used as the main performance area. These fixtures are used to throw wide-angle light all around the stadium up into the audience and onto a five-ringed (trussing) performance structure at the opposite end of the stage. The five-ring trussing rose up from the ground and was designed to represent the Olympic rings. Acrobats, aerial artists, and dancers performed on the trussing throughout the two-and-half-hour opening extravaganza.

A further 80 Robe fixtures are rigged in the stage roof–overhead across four trusses–used for lighting performers and for general stage effects. Another 20 ColorWash 1200s are placed on a truss over the top of the five-ring structure, downlighting its performers.

Legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti was onstage for the opening ceremony, which also included a eulogy for peace by Yoko Ono. The high-energy show incorporated the Athletes’ Parade in a colorful, spectacular blaze of lighting, plus pyrotechnic effects designed by the renowned Christophe Berthonneau and Groupe F. A live audience of 35,000 people watched at the stadium and an estimated worldwide TV audience of 2.5 billion tuned in.

Marenghi and the event’s scenic/production designer Mark Fisher were initially approached to create a high-impact visual scheme for the opening and closing Torino shows at the end of 2002 by Filmmaster who then formed production company K2006 to coordinate all the event’s technical and production aspects.

Marenghi’s final specification included Robe ColorWashes for several reasons. He wanted a powerful wide-angle light-source. He particularly wanted lighting near the performers on the Olympic rings that would cut through potential environmental hazards like fog, and he also needed plenty of concentrated, flexible light for the stage action and to light the seating stands.

Additionally, the fixtures in the exposed trough needed to be robust enough– even though encased in plastic domes–to survive sub-zero temperatures, snow (up to 80cm a night) and rain. They also had to contend with the trough collecting all types of extraneous materials during the shows, when the lights were showered with dirt, confetti, and the minute quartz crystals scattered onstage for improved grip, and pyro fall-out zone debris.

With average temperatures just below freezing, dropping to minus10 at times, Marenghi reports that the Robe’s are “Really excellent” all round – they are fulfilling all needs in terms of getting lighting to where it’s wanted and have not flinched at all in the extreme temperatures.

L’Aquilla-based lighting company Agora supplied the majority of the Robe fixtures; Agora was a main lighting contractor for the opening/closing events. Robe Italia coordinated the sourcing of additional fixtures.

Marenghi’s team of programmers includes Ross Williams, Pryderi Baskerville, Emiliano Morgia and Mark Payne, with his company Lumitect also employing lighting managers Eneas Mackintosh, Nick Jones, and David Bartlett, PA Jennie Marenghi and HDTV consultant Chris Bretnall. The shows are operated via four Wholehog® 3 consoles from High End Systems.

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