The Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino hosted the return of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story 100 years after Bernstein’s birth. This musical theater masterpiece is one of the most loved shows still performed today. Lighting designer Valerio Tiberi drew inspiration for his work “from the new adaptation and the atmosphere of the Upper West Side of New York in the mid-1950s,” he says. Here’s a video of a previous version of West Side Story, performed at Teatro Carllo Felice in Genoa:
“For this occasion, I requested and used the new Axcor Profile 600 from the Claypaky Axcor series for the first time in Italy,” adds Tiberi. Two versions are available on the market: one with a bright 500W 6,500K white LED source, and the other with a color temperature of 5,600K and CRI of 90.
The enormous stage and scenery recalled the urban jungle of New York, where the Jets and Sharks try to get the upper hand in an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance, until this is broken by the star-crossed romantic love story between Tony and Maria and its tragic epilogue. The theatre is equipped with was integrated with 24 new Axcor Profile 600s arranged both on the ground in the wings, and above the stage on the battens.
“I am definitely happy with the overall set-up I was able to give this lighting design, and with the entertaining, romantic choral scenes,” explains Tiberi. “However, I particularly remember the endings of the first and second acts with great satisfaction, since I was able to illuminate them with precisely the light I was looking for.”
Tiberi continues, “The contrast between light and dark prevailed at the tragic end of the first act thanks to the position of the units, and the angles, but above all thanks to the power of the white light from the Axcor Profile 600s, which proved to be a successful fundamental feature. The same thing happened in the final scene of the second half—the most intense and dramatic one. This is also marked by the contrast between powerful white lights and long cutting shadows, which accompany the final clash between the actors, the arrival of the police, and the last moments of Tony’s life. “
The lighting was programmed by Emanuele Agliati, who used an MA Lighting grandMA 2 console. The Axcor Profile 600s were provided by Audiolux srl Milan.
Scenic Designers: Hella Mombrini and Silvia Silvestri
Costume Designer: Chiara Donato
Sound Designer: Armando Vertullo
Lighting Designer: Valerio Tiberi
The Florentine edition was directed by Federico Bellone and produced by WEC (World Entertainment Company), thanks to an agreement with Music Theatre International (MTI). The book was newly adapted by Franco Travaglio, Jerome Robbins’s original choreography was reproduced by Fabrizio Angelini, and the music was provided by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra and choir conducted by Maestro Francesco Lanzillotta. The dialogue was in Italian and songs were sung in English.
West Side Story with music by Leonard Bernstein and a book by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim; based on an idea by Jerome Robbins. The original production was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and premièred August 19, 1957, at the National Theatre in Washington.
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