Nick Schmitt relies on Ayrton Domino LT and Cobra for Klassik am Odeonsplatz

Nick Schmitt specifies Ayrton Domino LT and Cobra for Munich’s annual Klassik am Odeonsplatz. Photo: Nick Schmitt

Munich’s traditional weekend of classical music, Klassik am Odeonsplatz, by PRO EVENTS Veranstaltungs, which is held in the historic city-centre square named after the former concert hall on its north-western side, took place in mid-July 2022.

Over two sold-out nights the event hosted a programme of classical music from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra on the first night, conducted by Daniel Harding, and an evening of movie theme music played by the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle ahead of his three-year residency as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic next year.

The performances were enjoyed each night by an audience of 8,000 people and broadcast live to 1.5million viewers on Germany’s premier ARD television station. Assistant lighting designer in charge of programming and key lighting, Nick Schmitt, joined the production team last year and specified Ayrton Domino LT, Cobra and Levante fixtures as key lights and follow spots, all of which were supplied by German rental company, Neumann and Müller.

“Neumann & Müller has provided the audio, lighting and rigging for Klassik am Odeonsplatz for the last twenty years,” said Neumann & Müller’s Jan Deventer. “It is most important for us to choose reliable technology for this well renowned event in Munich. With the Ayrton products we found exactly what we needed to fulfill our requirements.”

Two Ayrton Levante wash lights were rigged on stage towers behind the Odeon’s balustrades and used as side key lights for the conductor and, in conjunction with FollowMe, as a backlight for performers on the front steps of the building.

Eight of Ayrton’s new laser sourced Cobra were placed on the floor in front of the Feldherrnhalle to create aerial fan looks for the camera. “They had a really easy task providing bright eye candy!” said Schmitt. “I really liked them because they are waterproof so they are ideal for the open air season: you don’t need air domes, rain protection… all that stuff that takes time to set up and takes up breaks when they need attention!”

Schmitt chose four Ayrton Domino LT fixtures to work as follow spots with FollowMe, introducing both to Klassik am Odeonsplatz this year. “Our FOH rigging positions had a 70m throw distance from 10m high truss towers, so the main inspiration was to remove the follow spot operators from the towers for safety reasons, and get them out of the weather by replacing conventional follow spots with remote ones,” explained Schmitt. “So I was looking for a bright fixture with the narrowest beam I could get. I saw Domino LT, with its 3.5° beam and IP65 rating, at Prolight + Sound this year. I decided immediately that I really wanted this fixture to work with FollowMe on the Klassik am Odeonsplatz.”

He added: “As it was my first time using Domino LT, I was a little apprehensive about using just one each side for the followspots, so we rigged two pairs. But they were so bright we didn’t need to double up, and used the second pair for lighting the front of the building.”

Domino LT has a triple colour corrector for variable colour correction, including a minus green channel. “I really liked the fact we had the correction filters because we change from daylight to night during the performance,” said Schmitt. “We chose to use the Domino LT with 4500K colour temperature to best suit the blue hour. The minus green channel worked very well with the camera. It gave us the ability to light the whole orchestra with the light they like, and the minus green filter meant we didn’t have to adjust that much on the cameras.”

The Domino LTs were used to light the MC, the conductor and as specials on people or objects that were not beneath the rig under the Odeon’s façade, everything in front of which had to be lit from front-of-house positions. By using Domino LT, Schmitt and his team were able to rig the fixtures higher on the towers to avoid the central lighting towers which had previously necessitated crossfades between follow spots, and used just one FollowMe operator to control both Domino LT spots.

“Domino LT worked really well and is a perfect combination with the FollowMe,” noted Schmitt. “It is a very big fixture and it’s very fast for that size…and it’s really, really bright! Even at 7pm in the evening, you could see the impact of the four Domino LTs on the MC. I think that is very impressive from just four fixtures at a distance of 70m! 

2022 is the first year Schmitt has used Ayrton fixtures and he has been touring with Diablo, Levante, Eurus, Huracán and Domino in shows like The Frank Sinatra Story since the beginning of the year: “Everyone is hanging Ayrton fixtures in their rigs,” he concluded. “I’m a big fan.”