In a transition to the newest generation of LED moving light fixtures, The Vienna State Opera has replaced its Claypaky HMI luminaires with Claypaky Arolla Profile MPs, the smallest and lightest moving head in its class. While small in stature, the Arolla Profile MP delivers powerful light output with its 470 W white LED engine (at over 22,000 lumens output) and boasts a feature set typically seen in a much larger, more expensive fixture.
“We have invested a lot in LED technology in recent years. Almost all the backlights on stage are LED types now, and we also use a lot of LED for the proscenium,” says Rudolf Fischer, Head of Lighting at the Vienna State Opera. “In total, we replaced 19 lights in the proscenium and stage area.” Next due for an upgrade were the venue’s aging HMI spotlights.
The famed Vienna State Opera is a 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival landmark located on the city’s Ring Road. It was inaugurated as the Vienna Court Opera by Emperor Franz Josef and took its current name in 1921. It is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing 50-60 operas in a repertory system every year and ten ballet productions with more than 350 performances.
Fischer says that Claypaky was very helpful with the transition from HMI spotlights to LEDs, “handling the main effort of redoing every position to replace our aging Claypaky fixtures one-for-one. The computer did a very good job afterwards; that was a great relief for us. We had to do a bit of work on the zoom, focus, colours and framing, but that was manageable.”
Fischer cites a number of factors in selecting Arolla Profile MPs for the opera house. “The white light is really nice, and they are also excellent in combination with other LED lights. I have beautiful colour from the front again – faces are beautiful, and I can illuminate set decoration very well. The brightness is fine, too.”
In terms of colour rendering, the Arolla Profile MPs are set to 6000 Kelvin, “which is a nice value for the eye; the other spotlights in use are also in that range,” he notes. “Once again, we have achieved a good mix.”
Fischer explains that at the Vienna State Opera, “we illuminate almost all new productions in a cold range from 5,000 to 7,000 K. The old productions are backlit in the 3000 K range. The choice of colour temperature depends on the production. If I have old decorations, like iron construction, wood or only two walls, then colder light is more effective.
“The Arolla Profile MPs are equipped with CTO and I can reverse that, so at 80 percent we have daylight. It depends on the filters. Since we need to cover a large repertoire of productions it’s important that the new spotlights can emulate halogen light well and mix nicely with the others. The colour temperature must match, and the Arolla Profile MPs do this really well.”
Fischer also points to the higher energy efficiency of the LED fixtures and the fact that the new 470 W LED spotlights are brighter than their 700 W HMI predecessors. “The light intensity is about 20,000 ANSI lumens. I set 80 percent instead of 100 in the preview or in the patch itself, and that works very well.”
He also finds advantages in the Arolla Profile MP’s compact form factor. “The new spotlights are slightly smaller than their predecessors and that is definitely an advantage because the aisles in the proscenium area are very narrow,” Fischer explained.
The new fixtures already have been used for many productions since the current season began on September 1, he reports. “The transition went well, we are satisfied, and everything is going fine!”
LB-electronics GmbH is the exclusive Claypaky Distributor for Austria. “It was great to collaborate on this very successful project with Claypaky. The customer is very happy with the end result,” concludes LB-electronics GmbH’s Werner Wolf.