In ‘In Night’s Darkling Glory – Tristan and Isolde’, The Arensky Chamber Orchestra set out to create an immersive musical experience. The ACO’s aim is to reignite interest in classical music by giving it a new, exciting context. To do that in Tristan and Isolde, they needed engaging lighting to take the audience on a musical adventure. Across three acts and a three-floor performance space, they needed a range of lighting solutions.
We built a full lighting rig to take the audience on an immersive journey. This began in the banquet hall, with the warmth of candlelight simulated using Birdies with CTO and amber filters. Chandeliers hung overhead, which we made to emulate the look and feel of real candles. Next the audience arrived at a dock, where the only set was paraffin hurricane lamps, converted to take LEDs and run off battery power.
To keep the crowd as immersed in the music as possible, the main forest performance area was in near total darkness. But the musicians needed the ability to read music in the dark. So we built speciality music stand lights using USB gooseneck lamps and custom made lamp holders. Using a custom LED controller gave us the intensity control to dim the musicians’ lights when needed.
Finally, at the climax of the piece, we used LEDs to bring the two huge trees which made up the set to life. A chase pattern of dynamic light inside the trees crept higher up their trunks and then along the branches to give the illusion of growth. This effect brought the experience to a beautiful, powerful conclusion.
In Night’s Darkling Glory was a very ambitious project, but with help from us The ACO were able to make it a huge success. Tristan and Isolde was a completely engaging musical event. And the response from audience members was ecstatic. Innovative and creative lighting built an atmosphere which brought the music to life. We were able to go far beyond what The ACO expected given the resources they had available.
Dan and Ben are extraordinary people to work with. They have the humility and care to listen utterly to the brief they are given, the artistry to understand exactly what is trying to be created, and the flair to take the ideas they are given and make them far greater than they were to begin with. Above and beyond that they happen to be a joy to work with on a personal level! I know that we won’t be looking outside of their services with our own work for the foreseeable future.
William Kunhardt, Artistic Director, Arensky Chamber Orchestra