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Le Mondial SAQ 2001
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Portugal Flashes of Colour and Music Saturday June 30th, 2001

Pirotécnia Minhota Lda., designed by Rui Fernandes, traditional electrical firing

"Portugal's Pirotécnia Minhota launches its first fireworks above La Ronde. This grand pyromusical event, entitled Flaches de Cor e Musica has been designed by Rui Fernandes, a lighting specialist whose capacity to marry rhythm, creativity and intuition has been experienced already in Canada several times, notably in Vancouver where Pirotécnia Minhota took first place in 1995's Symphony of Fire. Pirotécnia Minhota was founded in 1952 and is renownded for its production of foguetes - Portugal's traditional rockets. The musical score seeks to evoke Portugal's history and everything has been done to seduce Montrealers and its Poruguese community."

After several days of heat and humidity, the weather broke with late afternoon thunderstorms threatening to put a dampener on the evening's proceedings. The weather gods smiled however, the rain holding off for the 30 minute display. Great use was made of Pirotécnia Minhota's speciality - foguetes, better known as rockets, with one thousand being fired in the display. It was sometimes difficult to differentiate between rockets and shells, and so in this report, many times I refer to shells which were, in all probability, shell-headed rockets. Traditional manual firing was used for this eight-part display.

Part 1 to the music Canção do Mar by Dulce Pontes. The display opened serenly with strobe pots and a ring of fountains on the roof of the centre firing ramp. Then fan comet candles in delicate charcoal and aluminium glitter (which hereinafter I will just refer to as glitter). Next, candles of blue with more fan glitter comets in the centre with blue shells above. These were followed by fans of colour star mine and glitter candles, with glitter shells high above leading into shells of glitter comets turning to colour stars. Next, rockets bursting to colour-headed glitter comets, the comets trailing down like curtains in the sky. These were followed by glitter mines and more of the same rockets. Next, shells of brilliant blue with colour star rockets followed by crossette comet and colour star mine candles. These were repeated and followed by crossed comet crossette candles and then shells of crackling glitter crossette comets, with bright colour mines and bombette candles below. Then more of the crackling glitter crossette shells, followed by shells of blue and other colours and then shells of clusters of colour stars ending in crackle. These were followed by large colour star shells and rockets of the colour-headed falling comets and then high pale-silver kamuros with rockets below bursting to colour star clusters. The segment came to an end with a large kamuro trailing all the way to the lake with a barrage of titanium salutes ending in another kamuro, trailing to the ground to cheers from the crowd.

Part 2 to the music Love by Grace by Lara Fabian. A flight of girandolas took off, bursting into colours as a fan of glitter comets from the centre filled the sky. Next, clusters of fan comets in fantastic glittering silver/charcoal, sparks from the comet trail falling all the way down to the lake as shells of strobe-stars burst above. Then fantastic candles of deep blue-headed charcoal comet clusters with gold glitter shells above and then barrages of titanium salutes and blue star shells followed by more titanium salutes and gold glitter shells. These were followed by double concentric red shaped-burst shells in hearts followed by high shells in orange and blue. Next shells of blue crossette stars followed by large rising tail shells bursting to colour headed willow comets with pistils. Next, large colour changing shells followed by rockets with stars gently bursting out and falling way down. The segment came to a close with lots of shells of glitter comets and colour stars.

Part 3 to the music Dei-te Quase Tudo by Paulo Gonzo. This began with candles of mines of clusters of colour stars, with fans of glitter comet candles in the centre with their sparks trailing all the way down to the lake. Next, shells of silver crossette comets followed by shells of glitter comets and shells of colour-headed comets, trailing all the way down to the lake. Theses were followed by high glitter comet shells and shells of comets with fireflies. Next, candles of bright colour-headed crossette comets with shells of nice pastel colours above. These were followed by high glitter comet shells and rockets of the falling colour-headed comets. Next, fans of the nice glitter comets with shells of the same above (just to restate that this glitter is a delicate charcoal and aluminium). These were followed by nice blue-headed charcoal comet shells and then shells of white headed charcoal comets turning to a fantastic blue. Below this, candles of mines of red stars as more glitter comet shells and shells of falling colour-headed comets burst above. The segment came to a close as fans of rockets burst into fantastic brilliant blue-headed charcoal comets - filling the air with bunches of gold-stemmed blue flowers as large shells burst high above.

Part 4 to the music That's The Way It Is by Celine Dion. A line of fountains opened up along the lake as crossed charcoal comet candles and candles of mines of the brilliant blue stars were fired with glitter comet shells above. Then rockets of the falling colour-headed comets were followed by large glitter comet shells and more of the falling colour comet rockets. A front of brilliant colour star mines was followed by shells of glitter comets and blue stars, falling like a kamuro to the lake as fan candles in pale gold glitter, the sparks trailing to the ground fired below. Then shells of slow falling glittering crossette comets, a front of silver stars and then shells of crackling glitter crossette comets. These were followed by palm-tree shells with glittering crossette comets. As the air became filled with crackling glittering comets, candles of pale gold and star mine candles fired below and then shells of glitter turning to red. These were followed by large shells of blue stars and comets, then green and comets and then colour star shells with silver starfish comets, filling the sky. Next, rockets of the falling colour-headed comets with shells of pastel colours turning to strobe-stars and firefly comets. A barrage of salutes was followed by shells of orange stars turning to white strobes, the segment coming to a close with silver kamuro stars turning to strobes.

Part 5 to the music Silêncio by Madredeus. This entire serene segment had a Niagara falls set-piece the entire width of the lake, whilst a single fan of glitter comets was fired from the centre. Unfortunately, the damp air meant that a huge amount of smoke was generated, making it difficult to see!

Part 6 to the music Heaven by Brian Adams. Five vertical wheels with coloured lance centres spun rapidly up to speed. After a while, comets were shot out of the wheels as they spun. Then a front of bright silver mines and titanium salutes. Above this, big shells of silver comets with glitter comet candle fans below. Then really large colour shells ending in crackling clusters. These were repeated and followed by bombettes of clusters of stars. Above these, large shells bursting into double concentric rings and some other shapes which were hard to discern from the angle I saw them. Then shells of colour-changing comets and more double ring shells and other shapes. These were followed by shells of bright white stars, then shells of blue and shells of silver crackling comets. Barrages of titanium salutes were followed by more silver comet shells and shells of colour clusters. More silver comet shells and titanium salutes were followed by shells of starfish shaped clusters of colour-headed comets. The intensity increased with barrages of salutes and more of the starfish shaped clusters of colour headed comets. The segment came to a close with barrages of silver crackling comets and rockets of the falling colour-headed comets.

Part 7 to the music It Feels So Good by Sonique. This up-tempo segment opened with loud fans of rockets bursting to colour-headed falling comets. Then a repeating sequence of candles of willow comets and clusters of brilliant blue stars with large glitter shells at a high level and white shells at a lower level. Next, candles of salutes and colour clusters with a shells of silver comets turning to colour above. These were followed by fan comet candles below and large crackling comet shells with pistils above as the candles switched to glitter comets and colour clusters. Next, shells of purple and shells of starfish clusters of charcoal comets with colour stars. These were followed by large shells of gold glitter and shells of falling white comets and other shells of firefly comets. More candles of fans of charcoal comets with blue star clusters as shells of strobe-stars burst above and were followed by barrages of titanium salutes and shells of thick pale comets. Shells of rings and shells of clusters of comets were followed by rockets of the falling colour-headed comets and then shells of crossette glitter comets. The segment came to a close with barrages of shells of glitter and colour and then a final barrage of bright silver glitter comets.

Part 8 to the music Sete Mares by Sétima Legião. The final segment began with a set-piece in the shape of a boat in bright lemon-yellow lances. Fan comets from the centre and candles of thick gold charcoal comets with clusters of green stars. Above these, shells of clusters of comets were followed by candles of salutes and then fans of loud rockets bursting to colour and salutes. More and more fans of these loud rockets were fired and then candles of blue stars and glitter comets, followed by the same in shells above. Then rockets of the falling clusters of comets were followed by gold glitter shells and rockets of clusters of comets bursting into flower-like shapes. Next, brilliant blue shells with well synchronized glitter mines and candles of crossette comets. These were followed by a sequence of shells or rockets of clusters of kamuro stars followed by candles with salutes and silver glitter shells. Rockets of falling colour-headed comet stars were followed by volley after volley of high bright shells with some huge salutes. The pace increased as the number of shells and huge salutes became enormous, the air was filled with a huge amount of smoke lit up dramatically from the flashes of the huge numbers of salutes, the end coming with deafening volleys of massive salutes and shells, somewhat obscured by the smoke. The audience screamed their approval. I wrote "AMAZING" in big letters in my notes and also found that I was screaming too.

This was a hugely enjoyable show. The material used was just fantastic, with the most fabulous blues I can ever remember seeing and the range of glittering comets was also fantastic, especially the comets which trailed their sparks out of the side of the main trail down to the ground. It was also fantastic to see such a huge number of rockets used - I'm sure a good number of references to shells in this report are actually rockets. The music was also enjoyable and worked well with the fireworks. Synchronization was a bit slack in places, but was tight in other places. Overall, a fabulous debut for the Portuguese team.


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.