I met with Ricardo Caballer, the 3rd generation Ricardo to be head of Ricasa. Ricasa last competed in Montreal in 2005, having won the Bronze Jupiter at their first participation in 1998. Ricardo said he had been working on ideas for this year’s show since 2005 and was surprised that it’s eleven years already.
He freely talked about what he believed were the design problems with his previous show – a soundtrack that was too “flat” and not enough diversity nor use of nauticals. This point about nauticals was quite funny, as Ricardo noted that he had been fearful to use them then, but, at the same time, his company was selling them to fellow competitors! This will be rectified in his show where he said he is using every possible firing position and product. He noted that 100% of the material used will be from Ricasa, with new products specially designed for Montreal that will be added to their catalog afterwards. He said he was proud of the fact that they had such a diverse range, now, that there was no need to seek material from any other manufacturer. Ricasa are renowned for their high quality which is why, Ricardo said, demanding clients that do such shows for high-profile events like the Olympics, use his products.
This year, I decided not to include cue-counts in the interviews, but it’s difficult to avoid the subject as this display will be, I believe, the most complex ever fired in Montreal and is certainly the most technically complex display Ricardo has designed. Full details will be included in the report, but, for now, it can be revealed there will be a total of 82 firing positions using all five ramps, with 88% of the cues allocated to one-shots or “multi-shot” devices. One single segment, the piano concerto number 1 by Tchaikovsky, will use 27% of the total cues and will recreate a piano keyboard along ramp 3, with 22 firing positions (exactly 1/4 of the 88 notes of a real keyboard) specifically dedicated to this piece. There will also be towers used for horizontal mines, as well as wheels and a sun-effect.
The soundtrack uses film music and Ricardo said he picked music that he loved and which appealed to different emotions. Concerned about smoke build-up due to the massive number of products used, he said he had designed the soundtrack such that there would be serene periods which should help mitigate against this. Total running time for the show is 31 minutes 30 seconds.
When asked about the importance of competing, Ricardo said he had set out to do his best to win, but was nervous due to not knowing how the weather conditions would be, if there would be enough wind, if everything would be set up perfectly etc. He said that the display would be a great showcase of what his company can do and would demonstrate the breadth of their portfolio, but winning would really help confirm their reputation. Ricardo also noted that he has a great team, with help from Pyrotecnico technicians (who are also providing firing modules and one-shot racks). Even with a show of this complexity, he is confident everything will be installed in time for Saturday’s display.