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A stage extended to the orchestra pit caused a “lighting headache” at Czech National Theatre. ADB’s WARP Zoom Profiles proved the perfect cure …

Ivo Dankovic, Chief Electrician of Narodni Divadlo, the Czech National Theatre, has specified ADB WARP Zoom Profile spotlights to help accommodate a large production that extended over the orchestra pit at Prague’s Estate Theatre.

An ingenious solution was required because this production of Mozart’s opera La Finta Giardiniera, by renowned director Karl-Ernst Hermann, was originally designed for the larger Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels. There, the opera was performed on a raked stage complete with a birch grove and a broad horizon. To make this design work in the Estates Theatre, the ‘downhill’ portion of the stage was extended to the orchestra pit, itself surrounded by a narrow foot bridge.


Photo: Ivo Dankovic

This move, however, created a lighting headache, as the central front of house lighting position in the Estates, Prague’s oldest theatre, is limited to just a few lights, as Ivo Dankovic explained: “The central lighting position is too remote from the stage to focus on the narrow foot bridge around the orchestra pit. You can’t achieve the same lighting quality there as on the main stage without creating distracting lighting effects in the orchestra.”

He added: “The solution was to use ADB’s WARP Zoom Profiles, placing them close to the orchestra pit on the second balcony left and right. Thanks to ADB’s unique technology of four integrated blades with 360° rotation capability, it was simple to focus on the difficult parts of the stage, especially the narrow foot bridge around the orchestra pit, from each position. From my point of view the WARP is outstanding not only in its innovative ring control of blades, iris, gobo, shutter, which makes everything easy to manipulate, but in ADB’s philosophy of profile lights in principle. I feel they’re superb profiles and should be available on every stage.”

The crew, he added, were relieved to find the director satisfied despite some trepidation during first focusing, says Dankovic: “Mr. Herrmann was a little nervous to see how it would look, but when I have heard his typical noise of satisfaction during rehearsals I knew everything was OK.”

La Finta Giardiniera was not the first production by Karl-Ernst Hermann and his wife Ursel in the Estates theatre in Prague. They had staged Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito in October 2006 to considerable acclaim, and the couple returned with an early Mozart opera in 2008, which elicited the comments “One of the best opera production of recent years” (Musical Bulletin) and “a perfect lighting design by Mr Herrmann” (Harmonie Journal).

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