Sarah Brightman’s 16-date stateside A Christmas Symphony Tour enchanting audiences with three-octave range vocals and an array of music, ranging from Puccini to John Lennon during a two-hour show.
Supporting the celebrated artist at The Music Center at Strathmore was lighting and show design by Nathan Taylor. The lighting was programmed by Plymouth-based Lighting Designer, Jason Hyne at Neg Earth, and operated in the US by Austin, Texas-based Lighting Designer, Ruby Leigh of Allume Live Productions, on a ChamSys MagicQ 250M Stadium – an ideal choice of console for many reasons, according to Hyne.
One of the most obvious, he noted, given the relentless one-month touring schedule, is the console’s compact foldable design. “Portability was critically important in light of the travel schedule,” said Hyne. “I visited ChamSys in the UK for a demo of the 250M in late July 21. Right away, I knew that this was the desk for me. I have used the Chamsys 250M desk over the autumn in the UK with the Kaiser Chiefs festival shows and Roger Taylor’s ‘The Outsider’ tour, and it has been a revelation to me the power this compact desk can give whilst programming and operating shows.”
Hyne was quick to point out, however, that portability could not come at the expense of performance on the Brightman tour. In this respect, he was extremely pleased that the console comes with the complete ChamSys Stadium Suite, an invaluable asset in helping Leigh run timecode at the tour’s wide range of venues.
For her part, Leigh described how the powerful MagicQ MQ250 with its large, intuitive user interface, along with features like Motorised Faders and easily navigated Cue Stack Tracks helped her on the tour.
“Mostly we performed at 2,500 or more capacity theatres with various stage sizes,” she said. “The rig itself was fairly adaptable, so it worked well in the bigger, as well as the tighter, spaces. I had to update the various positions during the tour. ChamSys made it really easy for us to adjust the position pallets to fit each venue’s space.”
Making sure the timecode really syncs up is crucial in any show and this tour was no different, Leigh reported. “Each intensity and colour fade needs to be precise or else the effect of the mood can be ruined for the audience, so the precise control that the console gave me was very important,” she said.
With all of the lighting elements coming together smoothly, the design team was able to reflect Brightman’s performance. “All of the scenes that we set for the different songs are dynamic in their own way,” said Leigh. “Some are far more dramatic while others are extremely subtle and ethereal. Our goal as a team was to contribute to the audience being in awe of Sarah and the impact of her voice without being distracted by a snap in a cue.”
Seemingly small adjustments like changing a two second intensity fade with a single fixture in a single cue inside of a playback page made a big difference during the holiday tour, concluded Leigh.