Lighting designer Sune Verdier programmed and operated the lighting using a grandMA3 console.
An all-Robe lighting rig has been deployed at the rock opera titled Jesus Christ Superstar. It features Danish Chamber Orchestra (Danmarks Underholdningsorkester) conducted by Andreas Vetö at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena.
This acclaimed version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘rock opera’ was a ‘crossover’ performance that skilfully embraced the production genres of theatre and rock ‘n’ roll in staging and lighting.
Lighting designer Sune Verdier has designed the lighting and stage that includes an all Robe moving light rig comprising nearly 150 luminaires – supplied together with audio equipment by Copenhagen-based European Tour Production (ETP).
Imposing three-tiered scaffolding decks accommodated the orchestra, while a 30-metre long three-metre wide runway extended across the arena floor.
With no video, the pressure was on the lighting as the main visual embellishment to enhance all the emotion, drama and thought provocation of the piece, plus highlighting a string of rousing musical numbers. “I wanted the lighting to be edgy, simple and impactful,” explained Sune, adding that getting that uncomplicated look … is actually a complex task consuming serious time and effort!
Sune lit the production together with the 31-piece orchestra which is a regular client of Sune’s, the 28-strong choir and the nine principals.
Sune started – rock ‘n’ roll style – with an arc of vertical lighting towers around back of the stage and on top of these were the 16 x Robe MegaPointes.
Sune specs MegaPointes regularly for his concert and theatre designs and they are one of ETPs busiest rental fixtures. They were chosen for “the sheer power needed to have an impact when firing through the metalwork from behind, and also for the range of effects,” although he’s quick to point out that the trick was to do all of this without getting light in the musician’s eyes!
They were augmented with 24 x Pointes effectively extending the arc of MegaPointes around the back of stage and widening the scope of the lighting out into the outer perimeters. The idea was to make the stage bigger, wider and have more depth and have lighting in and around the audience.
The 25 x ESPRITES were a recent purchase for ETP. Jesus Christ Superstar was their third production since July and the first of Sune’s shows to utilise them. “They were a perfect white source LED profile fixture to work with a 20-metre trim height,” he explained.
Sune added, “They are very tidy – and not once have I had to re-focus”. He also observed the smoothness of the movement with the trusses stayed very steady even during the more manic lighting cues!
“I chose Spiiders for my washes as I know exactly how they are going to behave,” he commented, adding that the colour continuity between different Robe fixture ranges is “outstanding” and very helpful to any designer.
Originally – the Orchestra had performed this show in 2020 – when restrictions were lifted following the first Covid wave in summer 2020 allowing some limited capacity touring in smaller venues, and on those shows, there had been a row of CycFX moving LED battens along the front of the stage in the footlights position.
These were replaced in the Royal Arena with a row of 38 x LEDBeam 150s which were a great match with the Spiiders and provided fill-in wash across the orchestra when needed as well as beaming across the audience at times.
In addition to all the Robe moving lights, Sune had some other LED lights on the rig including individual pixels outlining the cross and a barrage of classic genuine CP60 PAR cans at the back on the towers, great for tungsten flash blow-throughs. This was also a homage to the classic rock ‘n’ roll lighting of the 1980s when Jesus Christ Superstar was originally written.