Interview with Team Pirotecnia Morsani SRL

I met with Maruska Menichelli for the first interview with a a busy team the day before their show. The show’s designer, Telesforo Morsani, was busy setting up shells on ramp 2 and comes from a long line of Morsanis who’ve worked in the family’s fireworks business, established in 1880 by Reginaldo, Telesforo’s grandfather.

Maruska Menichelli

With a factory located just 80km from Rome, the company also supplies fireworks to The Vatican. Specializing in Roman candles and traditional Italian cylindrical shells (such as studatas), the company began manufacturing the products that will be used in the show as soon as they knew they were competing, late in 2010. With 80% of the material used produced specially for the show by the Morsani factories, we are in for a treat of traditional Italian craftsmanship. Maruska emphasized that the classic Italian finale we know and love will be present in the display.

Following their debut display in 2008, which was very well received though it didn’t win a Jupiter, the Morsani team took a different approach to designing their 2011 display. Starting in November, the whole company began brainstorming sessions to come up with a name and theme for their display and, inspired by the movie of the same name, they came up with Angels and Demons, though the display is not a pyrotechnic re-telling of the film. Using storyboarding techniques, they came up with a plan for the display that will be four parts, telling the story of the battle between good and evil. Each part will be introduced by a short narration and then will tell the story, starting with the creation by angels in the beginning, following through darkness and evil, then an epic battle between good and evil and, finally, good triumphing in the end. Maruska noted that the display will send a message of hope to a troubled world.

On the technical side, this is their most complex display of the year (in the summer they are firing at least ten displays per week). It will be fired with a mix of FireMaster and PyroLeda systems due to the size of the show. Maruska also noted that traditional Italian techniques using pyrotechnic delays would be used to fire over 3400 pieces. Following feedback from their 2008 display, they will be firing a lot of nautical shells and cakes and, despite the story-telling theme of the display, decided not to use any structures due to the difficulties in constructing and shipping these from Europe. Maruska also noted they used ShowSim3D to help design and visualize the display – a first amongst this year’s competitors so far. Finally she noted that they would be using lots of their special studata and willow shells and that she was particularly looking forward to the battle scene in the story and that it would be “the greatest battle of the year!”

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