Italy – July 13th 2011 – Pirotecnia Morsani

Humidity lead to afternoon thunderstorms but, as predicted, these magically faded away to leave a perfectly clear, though slightly cool, evening with just enough wind blowing in the right direction to keep the smoke and debris away from the audience at La Ronde.

With a highly anticipated theme and powerful soundtrack, this was the show to really set the 2011 competition alight.

With the countdown starting a few seconds early, leaving the Big Wheel and grandstands with their lights on, the show opened to bright strobes and a narrative segment of almost a minute to introduce the theme and concept. I had learned during the interview with the team that there would be four narrations used during the show and I was initially worried that they would be a distraction. Fortunately, this first one was the only long one.

The display began relatively serenely, the opening scene representing angles and creation. It quickly became apparent the quality of the fireworks being used, with long burning stars and very clear colours.

As the display progressed, more and more complexity emerged with great use of the space of the firing site both vertically and horizontally with well-designed interplay between the different levels and angles. The lake was quickly brought into play, too, with powerful nautical shells.

The display was organized into four elements, with narrations introducing each new part, but done in such a manner as to not interrupt the fireworks. The music was also seamlessly and artistically edited together so there was a continuous flow throughout the display.

Choreography was excellent with the effects fitting the music exactly and tightly sequenced when appropriate. The timings on the studatas were absolutely superb so both the initial and final breaks, or sequences of breaks, were perfectly aligned to the soundtrack.

Once we got into the battle scenes (between good and evil, each represented by their own colour and position across the display area), the WOWs started to involuntarily escape my lips. Tremendous choreography at the different levels with fabulous traditional Italian shells and lots of noise and colour, but not a jumble, just a well orchestrated mayhem, fabulously augmented by the many volleys of brilliant nautical shells. And not just nautical shells, nautical mines of many different types too – some firing clusters of stars, some firing tourbillons.

The last 14 minutes of the show (so, really, half the show) were at the level of a finale pretty much throughout – except that the pace was brought down to calmness at just the right moments. Brilliant colours, sky-filling barrages of studatas and farfalles, but without repetition of effects. Brilliant photo-flash “lightning” effects across ramp 3 shocking the audience.  And then a build to a joyous conclusion to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, filling the sky with a flamboyant Italian finale as the audience rose to their feat and screamed their appreciation to the artisans of Morsani.

This display has really set the competition alight and definitely marks a turning point – this is truly the one to beat!

WOW indeed!

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