Royal Opera House London

ProjectRoyal Opera House London LocationLondon, EnglandManufacturersElation ProfessionalDistributorWhite Light Ltd, EntediLighting DesignerSimon Bennison, Lighting Associate/Deputy Head of Lighting, Royal Opera HouseSubmitted byElation Professional

The Royal Opera House in London chose Elation Professional’s Artiste Picasso™ as the prestigious performing arts venue’s new front-of-house moving head lighting solution. Available to both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, the theatrical-grade LED profile luminaire met the world-class venue’s exacting standards and has already been used to light several performances. Technical solutions specialists White Light Ltd (WL) sold the fixtures to the venue.

One category of luminaire that the technical team at ROH has had frequent requests for is a moving head in the front of house position. Simon Bennison, Lighting Associate/Deputy Head of Lighting at the Royal Opera House, explains: “As lighting demands have progressed, many European houses have integrated moving heads into their setups and we started to get increasing requests, particularly over recent years, for bright, flexible moving head fixtures in the FOH area. We have experimented with different units but run into perpetual issues of sightlines, lack of space and unit noise.”

Bennison had the opportunity to see Elation’s Artiste Picasso in use at the National Theatre in Oslo, one of Norway’s most prominent venues for dramatic arts. “I was privileged enough to work quite closely with Ryan Bourne and the lighting team at the venue, and able to see the lights in action. It became apparent that even in a relatively compact space the noise in the auditorium was minimal, and the unit showed potential for use in London.”

“We went through quite an exhaustive process with shootouts and demos from a lot of manufacturers,” Bennison states. “But when we chipped away at the bits of criteria, overall the unit that was most suited for our needs was the Artiste Picasso and its low decibel level was very hard to beat. We chose the units specifically to preserve the visitor experience in terms of background noise levels.” Additionally the quality of light – the color temperature and color quality – was also a determining factor. “It has a really clear, flat, good quality beam.”

After arranging an on-site demo through Elation’s exclusive UK distributor, Entedi, ROH chose the unit for an “Agrippina” production based on its size, minimal ambient noise, high light quality and flexibility. “We brought the Picasso in for Agrippina and it was very strong,” Bennison recalls. “The lighting designer was really pleased with the light quality and the results for the show.” During the course of the “Agrippina” run at ROH, they were also able to use the lights on other pieces, most notably on “La Bohéme” and the opera “Alice’s Adventures Underground.”

Housing a 620W white LED engine, the Artiste Picasso produces a powerfully crisp output of 23,000 lumens and includes theatrically useful design features like graphics, animation wheel, zoom and framing. The Picasso units, outfitted with custom gobo templates prior to rigging, complement the existing arc source moving heads and LED wash light movers to provide increased flexibility in the venue’s front-of-house positions.

The Royal Opera House’s 2021/2022 season began in September with an ambitious program that features eleven new productions, including five world premieres, classic revivals and an exciting roster of international and UK talent. The Royal Opera opened its new season with a new production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” with lighting by Fabiana Piccioli, which proved to be the debut performance for the ROH’s Picasso fixtures.