Sarah Brightman soars with the help of a dedicated design team and ChamSys

Sarah Brightman soars with the help of a dedicated design team and ChamSys

United States – The Strathmore Music Center is a modern multi-disciplinary arts space in glass and steel. Well-appointed with excellent acoustics, it resembles many other performance halls in American suburbs. But in the past month, this fairly typical space has become, in the words of one reviewer, “a place of paradise.”

It happened when Sarah Brightman took the stage as part of her A Christmas Symphony tour. The world’s most renowned classical/crossover soprano brought her transformative magic to Strathmore and 16 other venues across the United States during the tour, enchanting audiences with her angelic three-octave voice, as she weaves a range of music from Puccini to John Lennon in its two-hour show (plus an intermission).

Supporting famous artists as his voice soared to the skies was elegantly shimmering lighting and show design by Nathan Taylor. The timecoded light show was programmed by Plymouth, UK-based LD Jason Hyne using the NEG Earth suite, and performed during the US tour by Austin, Texas-based LD Ruby Leigh. of Allume Live Productions.

Traveling with the team on the tour was the ChamSys MagicQ 250M stadium, an ideal choice for many reasons according to Hyne. One of the most obvious, he says, given the relentless month-long touring schedule, is the console’s compact, foldable design.

“Portability was critically important given the travel schedule,” Hyne said. “I visited ChamSys in the UK for a demonstration of the 250M at the end of July 21. Straight away I knew this was the desk for me. I used the Chamsys 250M desk during my autumn in the UK with the Kaiser Chiefs festival shows and Roger Taylor’s ‘The Outsider’ tour, and it has been an eye opener to me just how powerful this compact music stand can be when programming and operation of shows.

Hyne is quick to point out, however, that portability couldn’t come at the expense of performance on the Brightman tour. In that regard, he was extremely happy that the console came with the full ChamSys Stadium suite, an invaluable asset in helping Leigh run the timecoded show across the wide range of venues on the tour.

For her part, Leigh described how the powerful MagicQ MQ250 with its large, intuitive user interface, plus features like motorized faders and easy-to-navigate Cue Stack tracks helped her on the tour.

“Most of the time we’ve played in theaters with a capacity of 2,500 or more with varying stage sizes,” she said. “The platform itself was quite adaptable, so it worked well in larger, tighter spaces. I had to update the different positions during the tour. ChamSys allowed us to very easily adjust the position pallets to fit the space of each room.

“Making sure the timecode really syncs up is crucial in any timecoded show and this tour is certainly no different,” Leigh continued. “Every intensity and color fade has to be precise, otherwise the effect of the mood can be ruined for the audience, so the precise control the console gave me was very important.”

With all the lighting elements brought together smoothly, the design team was able to reflect the deeply moving power of Brightman’s performance. “All of the scenes that we’ve set for the different songs are dynamic in their own way,” Leigh said. “Some are much more dramatic while others are extremely subtle and ethereal. Our goal as a team was to help the audience be impressed with Sarah and the impact of her voice without being distracted by a clack of finger.

Seemingly minor tweaks, like changing a two-second intensity fade with a single device into a single benchmark inside a playback page, made a big difference during the holiday tour, noted Leigh.

It’s doubtful that fans who came to Sarah Brightman’s tour knew the steps necessary to accomplish this feat, but when the great entertainer wrapped up her final show on Dec. 21 in New Orleans, it was that kind of attention to detail that had helped them have a memorable vacation experience.

January 24, 2022

Comments are closed.