For nearly thirty years, Durham Marenghi has been lighting Raymond Gubbay’s
Classical Spectacular show. His designs for this production have enthralled audiences
at the Royal Albert Hall for decades as he describes: “Classical Spectacular has
developed from an all Parcan rig with me operating on a Celco Gold to the addition of
Vari*Lites on an Artisan desk. I believe that we had the first Vari*Lite fixtures outside
of Rock “n’ Roll from the VL1 upwards, through the LSD Icon control and fixtures and
then on to a fully automated system controlled by a grandMA from MA Lighting.’

“Over the years we have created a massive library of musical pieces with many
different rigs, and the grandMA2 has converted a lot of this data into the current
repertoire. I know of few other control systems that could have achieved this.’

With MA control at the heart of the design, Marenghi goes on to reflect on how the
rest of the rig has developed. “Since those years of the PAR 64, my fixture choices
have obviously moved on a little! These days it is a Claypaky rig that creates what I
am looking for. The Scenius range benefits from the CRI of the new OSRAM lamp
which has a fantastic range across the spectrum and allows me to use saturated
primary colours on the colour wheel even with a star field gobo; the effect is still
visible. The new Scenius Unico allows me to create some almost laser-like lines using
the shutter blades and the great optics while the Scenius Spot model gives me a wide
range of the gobo options to keep each of the twenty odd musical pieces looking
different especially with that superb range and depth of colour choices.’

Just as the trusty Parcan has been consigned to the history books, lighting control has
moved on apace as Marenghi reflects: “Back in the day we used to rent an arena at
London’s Docklands to create a show which had its first performance on the evening
of the get-in day at the Royal Albert Hall. This had a significant cost in terms of venue,
equipment and crew and with the appearance of WYSIWYG from CAST lighting we
moved into the virtual world using MA Lighting control.

Today the entire show is currently programmed by Ryan Hopkins in WYSIWYG, and we
make a few changes to the focuses on the morning of the show; the rig shapes are
always complex, and gravity has an influence on how fixtures hang in the real world
as opposed to the virtual. The orchestra rehearses in the afternoon, and then we open
Pandora’s box in the evening.

“The rig design changes every second or third season, so the show remains at the
cutting edge of current technology; the grandMA2 control, the Robert Juliat
followspots and the Claypaky range of fixtures shine brightly down onto a sometimes
slightly bemused orchestra.’