Le Mondial SAQ 2003
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
Arc en Ciel, designed by Jérôme Oghard, PyroMotion show design software, manual electric firing.
Pyrotechnical firm Arc en Ciel is the fruit of a marriage of ancestral art and
avant-garde pyrotechnical techniques. Among other awards, Arc en Ciel took home
the special jury's award at the presigious Cannes International Festival of
Pyrotechnical Art in 2000. Determined to distinguish itself at this competition,
this new recruit proposes a grand pyromusical show entirely devoted to women.
The Scents of Woman - Women, I Love You will present seven elegant
and impressive sets imbued with emotion, carrying the spectator along on a
poetic and dreamlike voyage. Experience this ode to purity, passion,
sensuality, beauty and determination.
The longest day of the year and the official start to summer brought picture-perfect weather for the inauguration of the 19th season of the Montréal International Fireworks Competition. After a slow start early evening, large crowds were present to witness this debut display from the French team. It is my intention for the 2003 season to interview the teams prior to their display but I was away this week and so wasn't able to do this.
Part 1 to the music La Marseillaise sung by Rouget de Lisle. A short introduction section beginning with tourbillon candles with blue bombettes above and then shells of gold comets above leading into a narration.
Part 2 to the music Women in chains by Tears for Fears. After the narration was over, a line of gold charcoal glitter fountains lit up along the lakefront with gold comet candles in the centre. Then fans of green star candles and then blue mine candles. These were augmented by bombette candles and a front of mines. The bombette candles continued and were followed by cakes of bright crossette ball stars. Then blue shells above with mine candles below followed by shells of bright gold stars, then pink and then green. These were followed by shells of meteor comets and then shells of tourbillon rings, forming a repeated motif, the segment coming to a close witha volley of meteor comet and tourbillon ring shells.
Part 3 to the music Mission impossible (Injection) by Hans Zimmer. Another narration and then a row of white strobes in vertical lines lit up. As these were strobing, crossed comet candles bursting to bombettes of white strobes. Then mine candles of strobes with strobe shells above. The size and number of strobe shells increasing, filling the sky with white strobes as the bombettes and mine candles continued below, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 4 to the music Lord of the dance (Victory) by Bill Whelan. This section began with fans of charcoal comet bombette candles with the comets dripping sparks into the lake. Then candle mines of bright yellow stars with blue bombettes above and then blue shells as well. These were followed by mines of yellow glitter to strobe with shells of blue turning to gold strobes above. Then repeated barrages of blue star shells followed by candles of gold glitter comets with more shells of blue above. The segment came to a close with shells of meteor comets turning to gold strobes.
Part 5 to the music Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev. Another period of narration, followed by a period of dark sky led into crossed meteor headed silver comet candles interspersed with candles of stars, all in criss-cross fashion. Then criss-crossing candles of pale gold bombette comets with star shells above. These were followed by shells of meteor headed comets, then a barrage of shells of small comets, white strobe shells, the segment coming to a close with shells of very bright coloured meteor headed silver comets.
Part 6 to the music Mummy Attack by Jerry Goldsmith. An alternating line of blue and green star candles was followed by fans of bright yellow-headed white comets. Then crossed fans of gold comet candles with blue shells above. More criss-crossing bombette comet candles bursting to blue stars. This continued for a while, then another short period of dark sky followed by blue star shells with crossed comet candles below. Then shells of gold charcoal comets turning to blue stars, with bigger and bigger barrages of these bringing the segment to a close.
Part 7 to the music Age of the loneliness by Enigma. Another section of narration was followed by yellow star candles and candles of thin gold comets as bright yellow flares lit up the back of the display area. Then shells of bright lemon yellow stars, increasing in size and then bright lemon yellow headed silver meteor comet shells. Below these, runs of bright yellow mines from left to right. Next, candles of orange stars angled to the right with barrages of shells of bright orange stars above. These continued until the segment was brought to a close with shells of glittering gold comets turning to gold strobes.
Part 8 to the music Storm (Vivaldi's 4 seasons) by Vanessa Mae. The fireworks in this segment reflected the name of the music as it began with crackling crossette candles and bombettes of crackle. Long charcoal comets from the extreme left and right met in the middle of the display area with fans of crackling comet candles behind these and candles of orange-headed crackling comets. Then vertical candles of crackle, with bombettes of crackle and low barrages of crackling shells. Next, candles of crackling electric comets which were then augmented by fronts of tourbillon candles. This theme continued with candles of larger tourbillons and more crackling and electric comets. Next, multi-break shell-of-shells of silver comets, salutes and shells of crackling crossette comets with fans of crackling comet candles below and bombettes of crackle as well. The pace continued to increase as the segment came to a close with more shells of cracking electric crossette comets and fronts of crackling electric comets below.
Part 9 to the music Lakmé by Leo Delibes. A period of narration was followed by charcoal rising tail shells bursting to charcoal comets. These were repeated several times and then followed by gold brocade shells and the same in nautic shells! This theme continued for the rest of the segment, a final barrage of large brocade shells bringing it to a close.
Part 10 to the music Destiny by Vanessa Mae. This section began with crackling candles with blue shells above. Then shells of crackling electric comets with candles of colour bombettes below and mines of glitter. The bombettes continued with shells in bright orange above and then candles of tourbillons below and then screaming wiggling comet candles with more orange shells above and then crackling electric comet candles and more tourbillons. These were followed by crackling gold comet candles, loud whistles and crackling comet shells above and then augmented by cakes of orange crossette stars. Above these shells of crackling comets the segment coming to a close with whistling silver comet candles.
Part 11 to the music Prelude 1 Allegro gicoso from Carmen by Bizet. Yet another piece of narration was followed by crossed meteor headed comet candles with shells of stars and comets above. These were followed by bombette comet candles with more star and comet shells above. This theme continued, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of star and comet shells.
Part 12 to the music Riverdance (Reel around the sun) by Bill Whelan. Candles of clusters of thin silver comets were augmented by cakes of crossette ball stars in blue, then green and turquoise and gold and orange, building to more and more. Then very bright silver star candles in lines with barrages of star and glitter comet shells above. The pace increased as barrages of titanium salute candles in fans followed by very bright meteor headed comet shells above, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 13 to the music Le bâtard de Dieu (Gloria) by Germinal Tenas. Another period of narration was followed by a very wide fan of very long silver comets fired from the centre and filling the display area. This was followed by shells of tourbillons with silver comet candles below. The music moved to
Part 14 to the music Femmes parfum de Liberté (poeme) by R. Candy and T. Ganchou. Silver comet shells started to fill the air as silver comet candles fired below as the pace increased with more silver comet shells, and some blue shells which were hard to see because of the bright silver shells. The music came to an end during a final barrage of silver comet candles, shells and a big volley of large salutes, silver comets trailing down towards the lake at the end.
This was an interesting display due to the very large number of candles used - more than one thousand in fact. The lines of candles, where normally there might be ten to fifteen in a line, had as many as thirty or more. I was told that there were 47 firing positions for candles along the front of the lake! Synchronization was pretty good considering it was a manually fired display, but there were a couple of times where the music had stopped but the fireworks continued. There were some dramatic moments in the display, particularly the segment with lots of crackling bombettes and candles, but, unfortunately, the finale was a bit short and there were very few large shells used in the display. It's a personal thing, but I always find narrated sections in displays tend to break the rhythm and end up distracting from the overal concept, unless done very carefully. There were just too many periods of darkness that lasted just that bit too long for my taste. However, there were some great colours used, particularly the vivid lemon-yellows and oranges. All in all, a very creditable debut display for the French team.
Pyromagic Productions Ltd. Designed by Patrice Guy, Raddiena by Toni Busuttil, Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography
Le Mondial SAQ newcomer Pyromagic Productions Ltd. enjoys a
heritage of more than 50 years of pyrotechnical art. Among other things,
it is renowned for the production of one of the world's most
spectacular presentations of pyrotechnics - the annual Chinese New Year's
Day show in Hong Kong. For its first appearance at Le Mondial SAQ,
the seasoned experts of Pyromagic Productions will present Postcards from
Hong Kong, a bewitching pyromusical voyage highlighting eight refined
and dazzling scenes that dabble in modernism and tradition. This ode to Hong Kong
will come to life through the inspiring musical works of Vanessa Mae, the
Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cirque du Soleil.
After a week of oppresive heat and humidity, a return to perfect weather with temperatures in the low 80s and dry air. Due to the recent SARS epidemic, most of the crew were locally sourced, but the director of Hop Kee, Wilson Mao, did make it to the display. Designed by local pyrotechnician, Patrice Guy, it promised to be an exciting display, representing his experiences living in Hong Kong for several years. This, together with the exciting special treat of a genuine hand-crafted Maltese Raddiena, augured well for a memorable display. Here is an interview with Patrice Guy from the public relations people at La Ronde.
Introduction to the music Souvenirs de Chine by Jean-Michel Jarre. The show began with the sound of voices and photographs being taken, each time a camera click was heard, a photoflash effect went off. The show proper began with
Part 1 to the music Contradanza by Vanessa Mae. Crossed silver comet shots with shells of willow to gold above as more perfectly synchronized V comet shots continued below. Above these, huge peony shells in pastel lemon with fast mine sequences below also in pastel lemon and titanium salutes. Large peony shells continued above as fast sequenced fans of comets opened from the Mirage roof as the shells continued above. The centre fans of comets continued as nautic strobes burst into life. Single shot charcoal glitter comets with pastel heads were augmented by crackling comet brocade shells above, the same in nautic shells and then crackling mine fronts below and cakes of tourbillons and silver comets. Next, shells of bees at a medium height and large peony shells above these. This theme continued with more shells of silver and red bees, larger shells above, fast comet sequences below coming to a close with a volley of titanium salutes, to great cheers from the crowd.
Part 2 to the music Tocatta by Vanessa Mae. A volley of titanium salutes fired as the Raddiena hissed to life. With the outer circuit in blue lances and eight pairs of counter-rotating wheels in red and green in the centre, the Raddiena pulsated in a hypnotic kaleidoscope of patterns and colours as shells of blue stars were fired above, with silver comets to the left and right. As the Raddiena continued its hypnotic motion shells of willow crossettes and more multiple shells of blue continued above and were augmented by slow falling silver leaf shells and then silver comet shells. As the Raddiena started to fade, mines of silver with shells of silver comets above, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 3 to the music Once Upon a time in China traditional, arranged by James. Sequences of left and right firing mines in pink turning to glitter were followed by cakes of crossette ball stars in pastels with large peony shells in the same colours above. This theme continued and was followed by shells of willow brocade turning to silver. Rising-tail shells bursting to brocade were augment by flights of rockets bursting to gold mines and then shells of crossing stars (shuttle shells). This theme continued with huge willow to red shells above and silver comet shuttle shells below. More rockets bursting to gold aerial mines were followed by fast cakes of bright pastel stars with the same in large peony shells above. This continued and then shells of strobes above and cakes below, the segment coming to a close with a huge burst of mines from the Mirage in the centre to more cheering from the crowd.
Part 4 to the music Shenfa by the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra. After the hectic pace of the preceeding segment, serene music was emphasised by calm shells of silver strobes. Then shells of fantastic red crossette stars that split once, then a second and a third time. These were augmented by shells of slow falling silver leaves and shells bursting to clusters of brocade with strobe shells below. This serene theme continued with red and silver falling leaf shells and more of the shells of clusters of brocade creating the effect of bunches of flowers in the sky. Back to the thrice-breaking red star crossette shells with slow falling silver comets above and shells of silver comet shuttles. Below these, beautifully synchronized comet shots with perfect angles from the left and right meeting in the centre and then criss-crossing. Then outward angled comet shots with silver comets shells above as a ring of silver fountains fired on the Mirage roof with silver comet shells above, bringing this beautifully serene segment, cleverly representing Tai Chito a close.
Part 5 to the music Feng Yang Drums traditional, arranged by Noel. Shells of the thrice-breaking crossette stars in green with fans of comets below with peony shells above in pink and then white followed by a return to the thrice-breaking crossette star shells. These were followed by huge peony shells in pastels and then bright mine sequences in Vs with cakes of silver comet salutes. Then fast sequenced fans of pastel-headed comets, perfectly fitting the music followed by a return to the thrice-breaking crossette star shells. Fronts of mines below and barrages of peony shells above in pink, white, green and then fan-opening fast sequences of comets below, the segment coming to a close with fast sequences of bright mines, to cheers from the crowd.
Part 6 to the music Terre Aride by Cirque du Soleil. Back to serene music as pairs of fountains lit up along the lake and nautical strobes flared into life. Above these shells of 5 rings in different colours, then pattern shells in spirals, bursts of whistling comets below and multi-ring shells above. More fronts of whistling comets with spiral shells above, 5-ring shells and shells of the thrice-breaking crossette stars. More nautical strobes came to life as criss-crossing silver comet sequencess were fired, then vertical comets with shells of crossettes above and shells of silver bees. More criss-crossing comets, fronts of sperm mines with falling leaf and bee shells above. This formed a repeating theme and was followed by shells of crackling clusters, strobe shells, and shells of silver comet shuttles. Then a return to the shells of 5 rings and whistling comet fronts below, augemented by cakes of tourbillons with huge shells of willow stars turning to colour above. This was repeated and followed by silver comets in shells and shots below, the pace increasing to the extent that my notes become unreadable, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 7 to the music The morning fog's wave by the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra. This began with a left to right sequence of comets with crackling charcoal comets from the Mirage roof in the centre. The left to right sequenced comets continue below with brocade shells of crackling charcoal comets above and from the Mirage roof. Then shells of clusters of crackling comets, getting bigger and brighter. The brocade shells continue and then lots of large red floating lanterns in the lake lit up. Serene shells continued above and were augmented by falling leaf shells as the lanterns continued to burn and the sequence charcoal comets continued below. This perfectly synchronized comet sequence continued with clusters of crackling charcoal comet brocades above, comet sequences below, the segment coming to a close with more clusters of crackling charcoal comet brocades.
Part 8 to the music Happy Valley by Vanessa Mae. The final segment, to the music that was specially composed for the hand-over of Hong Kong to china, began with cakes of colour stars and silver rising comets at the front followed by a barrage of titanium salutes. Then shells of pastel comets above and shells of silver comet shuttles. Below this, mines of bees and sperm, tumbling into the lake, followed by a fantastic sequenced comet section from left to right, meeting in the centre with each comet exactly on the pluck of a harp string. Charcoal comet shells changing to silver fired above as the left to right comet sequence continued below. This theme continued as the music became more serene. As the pace of the music increased again, fronts of mines and barrages of titanium salutes. Then a calculated period of dark sky, which became longer than expected as some sort of technical difficulty became apparent. Suddenly, barrages of peony shells came to life, fronts of cakes of silver comets and titanium salutes and then huge barrages of massive salutes brought the display to a close to huge cheers from the crowd.
This was a truly artistic display. The theme and the choreography were truly excellent and there were some magnificently beautiful shells from Hop Kee. The pastel colours were excellent and the thrice-breaking crossettes just fabulous, as were the sky filling brocade clusters. The display area was used to great effect, the angles of the comets just perfect and meeting up in the centre with some fantastic sequences.
The Raddiena was magnificent - a hypnotic mix of colour and motion. Only criticism here is that it was just that bit too far away from the audience, and sometimes the silver comets at the left and right were just that bit too bright. However, it was truly a treat to see such a fabled device in operation.
Overall, then, a very powerful display with intense moments and moments of extreme serenity and beauty, really taking the audience on a ride through Hong Kong. The music was excellent, being largely unknown in the west and the finale piece was exquisite. A shame about the technical problem during the last minute of the display, but this didn't detract at all from an excellent entry in the competition.
Parente Fireworks. Designed by Claudio Parente, wireless digital firing with Firemaster Plus
This year, Italy is brilliantly represented by Parente Fireworks, internationally
acclaimed masters of fireworks and heir to a family tradition that spans close to
a century. For its first presentation at Le Mondial SAQ, Parente Fireworks presents
Melody of Fire, a flamboyany yet refined pyromusical show that will set the
Lac des Dauphins and Montréal's skyline ablaze. A colourful
symphony of posies, butterflies, comets and fountains will descend in a series
of breath-taking crescendos, all of which will be in sync with an extravagent
musical program starring Pink Floyd, Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion, Handel,
Pavarotti and Orff.
Once again, perfect summer weather was the backdrop to this debut display from the famous Italian firm of Parente, which is now one of the largest exporters of fireworks in Italy with manufacturing facilities on Italy and China. Around 50% of the material used in the display was sourced from Parente's Chinese factories and 20% of the material was specially created for their competition entry. They used their well regarded wireless digital firing system for the show. an interview with Claudio Parente from the public relations people at La Ronde.
Part 1 to the music Another brick in the wall by Pink Floyd. The display began with nautical strobes on the lake and a single comet shot. After the strobes had burned for a while, mines in 180° fans in note synchronized red white and blue shots. Then shells of silver dahlia comets with titanium salutes. These were followed by multi-break shell-of-shells of silver comets. Below these a single V of magnesium comets, then three overlapping Vs, increasing until the whole front was in Vs of overlapping dazzling white magnesium comets. Above these, shells of pale colour stars ending in crackle, and mines of crackle below. This continued and then mines of blue stars ending in salutes with shells of colour stars and crackle above. This theme continued with the segment coming to a close with shells of colour stars and crackle above and mines of crackle below.
Part 2 to the music Wish you were here by Pink Floyd. A more serene beginning with shells of falling leaf stars and fronts of meteor headed comet candles below. Then crossed blue star candles and shells of crackling ball stars followed by a return to all blue candles. These were augmented by mines of blue stars and large shells above with blue stars and silver starfish comets. This theme continued with the large blue and silver starfish comet shells and more blue mines. These were followed by shells of silver go-getter comets and more shells of blue stars and silver starfish comets. Next bow-tie shells of comets and rings, saturn shells and other shells with comet rings and star pistils. These continued, then with shells of shuttle (crossing) stars and huge shells of crossette ball stars, these theme continuing to the end of the segment.
Part 3 to the music Mission by OST. This segment began with a large number of dazzling yellow magnesium nautical flares in the lake. Then the most incredible nautical shells: comets were launched almost vertically into the air, these broke into multiple smaller comets and then after a tiny delay, these turned into red flares which fell into the lake, covering it with dancing red flares all the way to the edge. The audienced gasped in amazement as multiple volleys of these were fired; I discovered later these are called "tapieta" which loosely translates as carpet. Truly the most incredible effect. After this, a long waterfall set piece lit up, starting out bright yellow and then trailing white sparks. This continued to burn for quite a while and then dazzling white silver comets flew up from the centre, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 4 to the music The Prayer by Andrea Bocelli &s; Céline Dion. A line of fifteen white fountains lit up across the lake front and then a mine sequenced of angled charcoal glitter mines travelled left to right, right to left, criss-crossing as the sequence moved, sometimes from the left, the right or in both directions at once. This sequence continued for a while and then shells of red falling leaves with shells of crackling ball stars above. Mines of crossette stars and then a left to right sequence of silver candles with pattern shells above of five pointed stars surrounded by a ring. Next, gold glitter comet candle fans with candles of blue stars. These continued and then gold kamuro shells above, the glittery comets ending in crackling strobes. These kamuro shells continued with more and more, filling the sky. Then the same but in bright silver kamuros with silver comet nautical shells in the lake below. This continued until the end of the segment with huge silver kamuros trailing all the way to the lake to cheers from the audience.
Part 5 to the music Hungarian Song by Brahms. A line of tourbillon candles were followed by bright mines and then mines of red falling leaves. As the music picked up pace, faster and brighter effects and then an immediate slowing to serene falling leaf effects perfectly reflecting the music. Then a sequence of magnesium comets staring at the left and right and moving from both side to the centre, giving the effect of an inverted arch. Again the pace picked up and so the mines and comets picked up and then back to falling leaves as the music became more serene again. The segment coming to a close with a front of mines.
Part 6 to the music Music from the Royal Fireworks by Handel. This entire segment consisted of fountains of different types. It started out with fifteen posts with two X shaped pieces on each, so eight fountains per post. These started out as gold sparks, then they all turned silver, then all to glitter and then finally to silver. This was all done in one four-effect changing tube, not four tubes of different composition and the transitions between effects were simultaneous across all fifteen posts of eight devices. After this a line of fifteen bright titanium fountains with a very high spray, continuing until the end of the segment.
Part 7 to the music Waltz No 2 by Shostokovich. Candles of crackling glitter bombettes opened up in fans. These continued and were followed by the same in gold glitter comets. Then three sets of 180° mines perfectly note-synchronized. These were followed by bright star candles and then fans of stars again on the notes. Next, bombettes of gold glitter to silver strobes with bright mine fans. As the bombettes continued, shells to crackling ball stars and mines of whistling comets below. These were followed by a line of fifteen glitter wheels which then turned silver and one unfortunately stopped turning at that point. These followed by candles of blue stars bursting to bombettes of electric comets with shells of bombette comets above, this theme continuing bringing the segment to a close.
Part 8 to the music Adiemus by The Journey. Purple star candles began at the left (and a group of out of place pink star candles in the middle for a while). Then, as the purple candles continued at the left, blue candles to the right of these; these two sets continued and turquoise and then green candles were added to the right; all of these continued as yellow candles were added, then orange, then red and finally pink until the whole front was filled with a rainbow of star candles from left to right. This continued and then the segment came to a close with fronts of dazzling mines in the same rainbow colours - this whole sequence being a Parente signature item.
Part 9 to the music Nessun Dorma by Pavaroti. Mines of orange stars in the centre and the same in shells above were the opening theme to this segment. This continued and then large shells of crossette stars. These were followed by shells of pink stars, then shells of blue and then green. After these, mines and candles of bombettes in gold kamuro. These continued with gold kamuro shells above and nautical shells of gold kamuro comets. This theme continued with more and more and larger and larger kamuros shells as well as more nautical kamuros. As the sky and lake became filled with gold kamuros, the audience cheered as the final huge kamuros trailed all the way to the lake with the sky filled.
Part 10 to the music Victory by Bond. Multi-break shell-of-shells in red then in crackling stars and then in blue were followed with barrages of salutes. Then shells of silver go-getter comets and the same in pastel comets. These were followed by shells of blue stars with silver dahlia comets with candles of silver go-getter comets below. This theme continued with tourbillon candles below and then shells of silver comets above. These were followed by shells of of crackling comets and then huge shells of bright colour stars. Below these, mine fronts of silver go-getter comets and then fronts of mines red silver and green, forming the impression of the Italian flag. Next shells of rings of tourbillons and stars (farfalle) above with mines of tourbillons below, the segment coming to a close with a huge front of 180° fans of mines.
Part 11 to the music Mythodea by Vangelis. This began with shells of charcoal comets and the same in candles or mines below. Then shells of silver shells followed by a repeating sequence of shells of large tourbillons and then fronts of whistling comet candles. These were followed by very large shells of silver strobes and then shells of bright stars and very large titanium salutes. This intense segment continued with huge shells and more massive titanium salutes and then alternating green and white star shells followed by shells of silver crossette comets, this faux finale segment coming to a close with huge shells and mines, though my notes are hard to read at this point!
Part 12 to the music Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Enormous multi-break shell-of-shells in stars, then comets, then stars opened this promised Italian finale. Then repeating sequences of stutata multi-break sequenced shells in blue; then the same thing in gold glitter; then in purple, then multi-break shell-of-shells of silver comets. A huge front of glitter mines and then the pace began to increased beyond any possibility of taking notes. Massive shells of bright colour stars with pistils were mixed in with barrages of salutes; then huge numbers of nautical shells started to fire as the pace of the shell barrages above increased and increased with massive dazzling shells, all the while with barrages of salutes going off. As the pace increased still further, flight after flight of salute candles with huge multi-break shell-of-shells above and yet more nautical shells. The whole incredible finale coming to a close with a thunderous volley of huge titanium salutes, to roars of appreciation from the packed crowd.
This was an excellent display which made great use of the lake. The
fantastic nautical shells launched almost vertically as comets, then
bursting into red flares and diving into the lake were fabulous. The
fans of stars and mines forming three sets of 180° were used
again and again, also fan cakes of fast sequenced stars which were lost
in my notes somewhere. The many different multi-break shells from
shell-of-shells to studato sequences were terrific and, of course, the
rainbow colour sequences are a Parente trademark. There was a good variety
of rhythm and pace and the synchronization was flawless throughout.
And, of course, the incredible Italian finale where all I could read in my
notes was WOW! in big letters. As a debut display, simply amazing and must
be a contender for a Jupiter this year and they received a terrific
reception in the Salon des Artificiers after the show was over.
Cienfuegos. Designed by Luis Oscar Borca, traditional manual electrical firing
As Argentina celebrates Independence Day, Cienfuegos pyrotechnics experts
will cast their first fireworks across Montréal's sky. Under the theme
The Contrasts of the South, this Argentinean firm will present a
singular pyromusical production that will shed light on the glorious traditions
and colours of the South with all their oppositions: joy and melancholy,
lightness and depth, calm and fury. Opening with a powerful wall of fire
that evokes the discovery of the continent, this beautiful South
American adventure's musical score will leave spectators breathless:
Vangelis' famed Conquest of Paradise, the original tango works
of Astro Piazzolla in all their splendour, and a medley of the most
beautiful music from the Andes, Central America, Brazil and Argentina
will all find their place of honour.
Another perfect, though slightly cool, summer's evening with clear skies, wind enough to move the smoke and very low humidity for the debut display from the Argentine team. Noted for their abilities in movie special effects, there promised to be some surprises in this ambitious manually fired display; this probably accounted for the slightly late start due to having so many things to set up. Cienfuegos have manufacturing facilities in both Argentina and Brazil and with 50% of the material in the display coming from these (and 30% overall was was specially created just for this display), the rest of the product sourced from Europe and China. Here is an interview with Luis Oscar Borca from the public relations team at La Ronde.
Part 1 to the music Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis. Fans of charcoal comets in the centre were followed be shells of willow comets turning to blue stars above with the same in mines below. Then large fires erupted on the surface of the lake and then fireballs mushroomed into the sky in the centre of the display area. These were followed by flame projectors and fans of bombette comet candles. As the bombettes continued, a large sun set piece in fountains lit up as barrages of shells fired above with fronts of whistling tourbillon and bombette candles continuing below. More huge fireballs erupted, radiating large amounts of heat, then red flame projectors and strobe shells above with more whistling comet candles below and yet more fireballs. Meanwhile, the fires on the lake continued to burn. Broccade shells ending in red stars fired with candles of whistles and glitter below, then more brocade shells, the segment coming to a close with a line of strings of firecrackers as the fires on the lake continued to burn.
Part 2 to the music Orureña by Uña Ramos. As the lake fires continued, shells of charcoal comets turning to red stars fired with fans of comets below and barrages of titanium salutes. Then shells of charcoal comets turning to silver followed be a repeated theme of silver shells turning to red with barrages of titanium salutes at a lower level. This theme continued, with the segment coming to a close with shells of slow falling clusters of silver stars.
Part 3 to the music Juana Azurduy by Huella Pampa. Fans of salute terminated wiggling comet candles opened this segment with shells of bees above. These were followed by clusters of bombette comet candles bursting to bright bees. Next, shells of charcoal comets turning to stars and then candles or cakes of salute terminated glittery comets. These were followed by bright orange bombettes and then very cool electric comet bombettes that filled the lower sky. Mine fans fired and the centre and then silver mines to the left and right, as the segment came to a close with huge pastel yellow shells.
Part 4 to the music Adios Nonino by Astor Piazzolla. Carefully angled comets from the extreme left and right, with lesser angles towards the middle ensured that all the comets met at an apex above the centre of the display. Then vertically firing comets then outward fans of comets. Above these, shells of charcoal comets to blue with fronts of thick vertical comets below, followed by rockets bursting to charcoal comets. These were followed by fans of thick charcoal comets and candles of deep blue bombettes. Fans of comets in the centre were followed by left and right angled pairs of comets with weeping willow shells above as the deep blue bombettes continued below in the centre, bringing the segment to a close, though the bombettes kept going for a bit longer.
Part 5 to the music Quebradeño by Huella Pampa. This began with shells of white turning to red then to silver. This was repeated for a time, then a short period of black sky. Next, volleys of four-colour changing shells: white to red to blue to silver. People were counting the number of colour changes! These continued for a time, the segment coming to a close with some large silver shells.
Part 6 to the music Para los rumberos by Tito Puente. This began with silver shells, then another period of dark sky for a short time before things got going again with shells of white comets. These continued with crossed mines below, the segment coming to a close with electric comet shells.
Part 7 to the music Guantanamera by Celia Cruz. Red-headed meteor comet crossette candles formed the opening theme to this segment. These were then augmented by the same Red-headed meteor comet crossettes in shells above and then silver comets breaking as red-headed meteor comet crossettes below.
Part 8 to the music Ran Kan Kan by Tito Puente. Shells of willow turning to blue began this segment with crossed fans of bombettes below with some salute barrages too. This theme continued for a while and as followed by large shells in silver and then a huge front of blue mines turning to glitter with large silver kamuro shells above, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 9 to the music Garotas de Ipanema by Frank Sinatra and Tom Jobim. An alternating sequence of red flame projectors and silver mines opened this serene segment as groups of rockets rose and burst to glitter. Then fans of bright charcoal comets which rose and arched over like flowers with shells of charcoal comets turning to stars above followed by more groups of glitter rockets. These were followed by crossed candles of glittery charcoal comet bombettes and large brocade shells above turning to silver at the tips, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 10 to the music Mambo Caliente by Arturo Sandoval. Delightful candles of bright firefly charcoal comets began this segment and were then augmented by very large shells of dense tiny stars with pistils. These were followed by shells of charcoal comets with strobing pistils and bomettes of strobes and colour below. Next, large brocade shells and fans of whistling comet candles or cakes. Above these, shells bursting to clusters of stars and more whistling comets below. Back to the very large shells of dense tiny stars with pistils as flame projectors and mines lit up below. A return to the bright firefly charcoal comet candles and strobe bombettes, the segment coming to a close with clusters of slow falling silver comets and huge meteor-headed comet shells.
Part 11 to the music Por una cabeza by The Tango Project. Flights of silver girandolas bursting to red stars and whistles rose into the air. These were followed by brocade shells with candles of bright firefly charcoal comets and blue stars below. These theme continued with the brocade shells above until the end of the segment.
Part 12 to the music Tanguedia by A. Piazzolla and Quinteto de Tango Contemporáneo. Cakes of salutes and strobe mines raised the pace for this segment as shells of comets to silver stars fired above and mines of salutes and strobes fired below. These were augmented by shells of strobes with more salute cakes and strobe mines below. The segment came to a close with a barrage of large shells of silver dahlia comets with strobing pistils.
Part 13 to the music El Firulete by José Basso. Crackling bombette candles with white shells above were followed by shells of pastel coloured meteor-headed comets. This theme continued and then shells of charcoal comets turning to stars as the music moved into
Part 14 to the music El Choclo by Juan D'Arienzo Y Su Orquesta Tipica. More crackling bombette candles with blue shells above followed by silver dahlia comet shells and then more silver comet shells. Next, mines of blue turning to crackle and then shells of a blue tinged silver, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 15 to the music Le Tango de Roxane by Ewan McGregor, José Feliciano and Jacekkoman. Very bright magnesium comet bombette candles in criss-cross shapes were followed be shells of charcoal comets turning to blue above, then shells of silver and crackling shells at a lower level. This theme continued with large shells and lower level crackling shells as fast fans of crackling comets opened in the centre below with fronts of candles with double-ended tourbillons. The pace continued to increase with the double-ended tourbillon candles continuing below, shells with pistils and white stars turning to red or blue above. Now salute barrages began below with shell barrages above in willow turning to blue as the double-ended tourbillons and salutes continued below. This theme continued with the segment coming to a close with large brocade shells.
Part 16 to the music Malambo by Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires. This final orchestral piece began with candles of crackling charcoal bombettes and then shells of pastel meteor-headed comets above. Below these, whistling comets and candles of charcoal comets with bright fireflies. These were followed by mines of blue and glitter, more double-ended tourbillons and then more bombettes with titanium salutes as well. Willow shells turning to silver were fired above with mines below and large fireballs. The pace increased and continued this theme of mines and fireballs below with barrages of large shells above. The pace increased still further with huge barrages of massive shells as my note become unreadable. The very end of the display coming with a thunderous barrage of salute cakes, silver kamuro shells above and a final barrage of salutes to cheers from the crowd.
This was a very good debut display for Argentine team, especially
considering it was manually fired. Most of the music was different though
at times the synchronization wasn't too great and the fact that the
display was manually fired meant that some of the rhythmic elements
were lost. There were variations in pace, with the opening being quite
dramatic, as was the finale. A couple of areas of dark sky in the middle didn't detract
from this display which had the novelty of large fireballs - demonstrating
the team's special effects prowess. I later discovered that the fireballs
were created with 17 litres of kerosene in 8" mortars, lifted with 4" maroons!
Notable were some excellent colours, particularly the deep blues and the
firefly comets were also good. This display really pushed the
limits of what can be achieved with manual firing in terms of the amount
of material which accounted for the slightly late start.
A good display, but lack of
use of the lake and not the tightest synchronization will probably mean
that it won't be in the winners this year.
Pirotecnia Minhota. Designed by Rui Fernandes, wireless digital firing with Firemaster Plus
A participant that made its presence known in 2001, Portuguese firm Pirotecnia Minhota is one of Portugal's pyrotechnic leaders. There can be no doubt that faithful Le Mondial SAQ enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting Pirotecnia Minhota's second appearance in the competition. The expertise of generations of pyrotechnical savoir faire have been combined to present the exciting pyromusical extravaganza entitled Magical Moments. This whimsical celebration of artistic originality will ignite your senses and your imagination. You'll be transported to a special magical place. Explosions of joy will dance their way through a variety of contemporary high-octane songs including Céline Dion's I'm Alive, Phil Collins' Can't Stop Loving You and U2's Electrical Storm
Dull cool weather threatened to spoil the festivities but fortunately the rain held off, the cloud base was high and there was sufficient wind to move the smoke. After their debut in 2001 there was an air of expectation for this display, especially after last year's magnificent entry by a Portugese team. Using Parente's Firemaster II wireless digital firing system meant that the slackness in the synchronization of Pirotecnia Minhota's debut display should have been solved. Interestingly, for rocket aficionados, tonight's display did not include any of the renowned Portuguese foguetes but, rather, special shells containing stick-less rockets. Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
Part 1 to the music Here I Am by Bryan Adams. This began with a line of rapidly flickering white strobes as the music began in serene fashion. Then left angled gold glitter candles. These were then replaced by right angled gold glitter candles followed by a fans of meteor headed comet candles from the centre. Mines to the left and right were followed by shells of stars turning to glitter above and then high kamuro shells. Next, crossed mine candles of silver glitter with blue. These continued and were then followed by charcoal aluminium comet candles in fans and then mines of red stars and glitter comets. Next, mines or mine candles of blue stars and charcoal glitter comets with more red star fans in the centre and fans of charcoal aluminium glitter comets. These were followed by kamuro shells high above with mine candles of gold glitter and blue stars below. The segment came to a close with barrages of kamuro shells trailing to the lake to cheers from the crowd.
Part 2 to the music Getting Away With It by James. This segment began with two fans of crossed glitter and blue mine candles, with one position missing at the right hand side of the display area. These were followed by glittering charcoal comet candles with shells of pastel comets and stars above. These were followed by the same in green with crossed meteor comet candles below and then bombette candles with reddish pink stars shells above. Next, mine candles of blue clusters and silver comets with more of the red shells above followed by barrages of shells of small dim stars. These were followed by shells of crossette balls stars then shells of yellow and shells of blue stars with silver starfish comets. These continued with titanium salutes, shells producing clusters of stars and more of the large colour star and starfish silver comets, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 3 to the music From Sarah with Love by Sarah O'Conner. A line of fountains lit up. Then meteor comet fans at the right hand side, then both left and right. Then the same thing in white stars followed by fronts of bright mines and shells of blue above. Mines of bright pink were followed be shells of glitter comets, then meteor comets and then shells of gold glitter. Next shells of go-getter comets which I think are the foguetes replacements. Soft break shells of trailing glittery comets were followed by mines and then barrages of go-getter shells in stars and meteor headed comets. These continued and were augmented by shells of bow-tie glitter comets with stars around and a large kamuro shell trailing to the lake, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 4 to the music Electrical Storm by U2. Flickering strobes lit up on the Mirage (ramp 4) roof and then pairs of white star candles at the left and right. These were followed by fans of charcoal aluminium comets and bright comet fans in the centre. Then left edged and righted edged and a centre fan of white stars with shells of go-getters above and shells of pastel coloured comets. This theme continued and was followed by a front of bright mines and more of the soft-breaking shells of trailing glitter comets. Then shaped burst shells in double hearts and multiple rings. Back to the angled candles, this time firing pink stars and then crossed charcoal aluminium glitter mine candles with blue and shells of crackling crossettes above. This theme continued with the crackling crossettes shells in the centre and colour star shells to the left and right. Then large colour star shells and some titanium salutes with high up glitter shells and shells of blue stars and starfish silver comets and dahlia shells of silver comets. This theme continued until the end of the segment.
Part 5 to the music Can't Stop Loving You by Phil Collins. Mine candles in the centre and pairs of star candles to the left and right opened this segment. Then angles candles from left to right firing stars that all met in the centre followed by crossed bombette glitter candle fans and with salutes. These were followed by shells of charcoal comets with fireflies in them and some shells of comets turning to flickering strobes. The shells of charcoal comets with fireflies in them continued and were augmented by shells of comets turning to red stars and more of the strobe-not-quite flickering star shells. Below these, bright mines of charcoal glitter and then above these shells of clusters of stars. Back to a repeated them of charcoal comet firefly shells and shells of starfish (i.e. 6) clusters of glitter comets and shells of comets turning red. A repeated sequence of the starfish cluster comet shells in the centre with smaller star cluster shells to the left and right. These were followed by shells of small stars and comets high up, shells of smaller stars at a lower level, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 6 to the music I'm Alive by Céline Dion. A line of fountains lit up, then note synchronized mines at the left and right in red as charcoal aluminium comet fans opened up in the centre. These were followed by a large fan of star candles and crossed fans of pink stars. Above these shells of blue turning to silver and brocade shells above these and as the brocades continued, willow star shells to the left and right. These were followed by shells of crackling crossette comets and shells of crossette balls. This theme continued and with mines of falling over glittery charcoal comets below and then glittery brocade shells to the left and right with colour star shells in the centre and some silvery brocades too. Fronts of mines in blue turning to silver were followed by barrages of the charcoal comet firefly shells, filling the sky and trailing to the lake, with the very end of the segment coming with a large pastel comet shell in the midst of the charcoal comet firefly shells.
Part 7 to the music of the Spirit Sound Track by Hans Zimmer. Two waterfalls, to the left and right of the Mirage (ramp 4) lit up. Then a line of flares and then fountains on top of the Mirage room in the centre. Charcoal aluminium glitter fans lit up to the left and right with fans of stars in the centre and then bombette candles of charcoal aluminium glitter. The waterfalls continued to burn as bright mines to the left and right with big shells of comets turning red above and then fans of glitter mines below. Back to the bright mine fronts left and right with shells of comets and stars above. Shells of colour at a medium height with kamuro shells above and also shells of bright white stars started above as the glitter candle fans below continued and then titanium salutes started to fire. The pace increased with more and more shells, barrages of large salutes, the very end of the display a barrage of large salutes and shells of silver and finally a large kamuro trailing to the lake.
This was an interesting display due to the repeated use of
certain thematic elements, such as pairs of candles left and
right and fans of stars or comets in the centre. There were some
interesting shells, particularly the crackling comet crossettes
and the charcoal firefly comets. The go-getter / foguete
shells were a bit disappointing since they didn't appear to be much
different than regular go-getters and not a dramatic effect
as real rockets. Surprising, though, was the lack of the use of the lake.
This is understandable for a debutante, but for a company that has competed
before, something of a missed opportunity.
Overall, I got the feeling that the display was
somewhat light in product and just not enough dramatic moments - even
the finale was somewhat less than I expected. Synchronization was
good and it was sometimes difficult to tell if mines or candles
were used - this being praise of the quality of the timing on
the candles. Overall, though, not enough excitement to justify
a trip to the winner's podium and, in my opinion, not the
most original music score and no Portuguese music at all!
Explosive Entertainment International. Designed by Robert McDermott and Bill Brown; Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography
After five visits to Montréal, a silver Jupiter in 1994 and a bronze Jupiter in 2000, Australia's most important pyrotechnics firm - Syd Howard Fireworks International - launched under a new corporate identity called Explosive Entertainment International. This new chapter in the company's history has supported a more innovative approach to pyrotechnical art, marrying extravagance with tradition. Buoyed by their past achievements and their new vision, these renowned Australian magicians will present an astounding pyromusical adaptation of the most universal of classics - Romeo and Juliet- based on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's splendid film starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes.
Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
(All music is from the film Romeo and Juliet by Baz Lurhman).
Introduction A line of red flares lit up and then silver fountains on top of the Mirage (ramp 4) roof as narration introduced the display. A front of glitter star mines was followed by barrages of massive pistil shells above and sequences of mines moving left and right as shells with stars turning to crackle fired above as the narration continued. Then shells of charcoal comets and charcoal to silver shells followed by mines of crossette comets and shells of silver crossette comets.
Part 1 to the music Death Scene Collage by Clair Danes. The death scene. A front of blue and gold glitter mines was followed by pastel comet shots with shells of bees above and then a front of big comets below and cakes of silver bombettes with shells of crossing stars above and shells of silver comets. Then more shells of bees as the silver bombettes continued followed by sequenced mines below and very high firing comets as the music moved into
Part 2 to the music Montague Boys by Craig Armstrong. Sets up family conflict and introduces the tension. Crackling shells and firefly comet candle fans and then shells of bees. Next angled comet fronts first to the left and then to the right in very fast sequence with shells above with tourbillons. These were followed by fans of glitter comet crackling bombettes with shells of rings above as the glitter comet crackling bombettes continued below. More shells of rings above and then a huge front of star mines with salutes as the music moved to
Part 3 to the music Gas Station Scene by Craig Armstrong. Key dialogue and scene setter "peace, peace, I hate the word as I hate all Montagues". This began with shells of blue stars with gold strobing pistils and then shells of charcoal comets with strobe pistils with cakes of crackling comets below. More of the huge shells of charcoal comets with pistils above and shells of gold crossette comets and more of the blue shells with gold strobes. Crackling comet bombettes with silver comet shells above formed a theme for a while and were followed by comets turning to colour stars as the music moved into
Set 2: Love, Innocence and Irony
Part 4 to the music Angel by Gavin Friday. The set where Romeo meets and falls in love with Juliet. Fans of orange mines with shells of clusters of stars above were followed by crackling comet bombettes below and then fronts of mines and very high rising crossette comets. Then bombettes of gold glitter as pattern shells in the shape of red hearts burst above as well as double ring and overlapping ring shells. These were followed by charcoal comet bombettes and more ring shells above and shells of comets with crackling clusters.
Part 5 to the music Young Hearts Run Free by Kym Mazelle. Three track sequence that sets up the notion of youthful innocence and young love - this notion is gradually revealed to be tragedy in the making, as suggested lyrically in "Lovefool" and "When Doves Cry". Serene music was reflected by a line of gold fleur-de-lys fountains with firefly comet candles with shells of electric silver comets above followed by shells of charcoal comets turning to silver. Then shells of blue stars and gold strobe pistils and shells of comets turning to blue and then red and more of the blue and gold strobe pistil shells. Horizontal fountains opened up on the roof of the Mirage (ramp 4) and a line of four X-es in silver fountains fired up too as the music moved to
Part 6 to the music Balcony Scene by Craig Armstrong. Moving sequences of big comets angled left then right were followed by sequenced mines with ring shells above and more mine sequences below and shells of smiley faces. Then shells of white comets and strobe bombettes below with crackling shells above and barrages of comet to colour shells. More mine sequences and note-sequenced comets and the same again in mines with shells of crackling clusters above. These were followed by mines to the left and right alternating and magnesium comet candles with shells above of starfish shaped (6 pointed) clusters of electric crackling comets followed by large comet to colour shells. These were followed by silver shells with electric comet pistils and then shells of comets to colour with pistils with a fast sequence of massive crossing comets below and fans of crackling bombettes. Next shells of charcoal comets and then shells of half red half blue followed by big silver to colour shells as the music moved to
Part 7 to the music Lovefool by Cardigans. A front of blue mines was followed by unreadable notes and then big shells of blue stars and gold strobe pistils. These were followed by silver mines and mines of crackling electric comets with barrages of shells above and shells of multiple clusters of stars (blooming flowers). Fast sequenced cakes ("Z cakes") of glitter comets with shells with pistils above continued for a while with shells with crackling pistils above as the music moved to
Part 8 to the music When Doves Cry by Quindon Tarver. Sequenced shots of huge angled comets formed the main part of this section with the comets rising very high and some unreadable notes as the music moved to
Set 3: Tragedy and Violence
Part 9 to the music A Challenge by Craig Armstrong. Here come the Capulates, this is the showdown .... Flares lit up on the roof of the Mirage as magnesium comets and glitter mines were fired with fast sequenced cakes ("Z cakes") of stars. Fronts of glitter mines and fronts of comets with titanium salutes as the music moved to
Part 10 to the music Fight Scene by Craig Armstrong. ... showdown and first blood for both families is shed. Fast star bombette cakes on the Mirage roof were followed by fast mine sequences and shells of serpents above and fronts of glittering mines below. Then huge shells with pistils and sequenced mines below moving left and right in silver kamuro comets as the music moved to
Part 11 to the music No.1 Crush by Garbage. Romeo's regret and fear and desperate need for Juliet. Serene music with nautic flares and red bee shells above were followed by shells of half red half white with more shells of white bees as the nautic flares turned to white strobes. Then shells of half blue half white and shells of comets turning to blue and then red.
Set 4: Flight, fear and the inevitable
Part 12 to the music Mantua by Craig Armstrong. Romeo is now a fugitive. A line of flares lit up along the lake front as strobe shells fired above and fast sequenced mines fired below and shells with blue stars and gold strobing pistils above. Then fabulous sequences of mines forming the colours of the rainbow were followed by willow bombettes and shells of weeping willow above turning to red and blue stars. Then shells of glitter comets and kamuro shells followed by a return to the the red bees shells. Next, shells of green bees and shells of crackle and salutes as the music moved to
Part 13 to the music Oh Verona Reprise by Craig Armstrong. The images and words of the opening scene setter played out while Romeo runs. Massive shells of blue to white to red and huge shells with pistils and other huge shells with crackles and a muzzle break were followed by shells of kamuros, but distracted by bright shells, followed by a repeating sequence of shells of rings with comet pistils and then a front of glittering mines turning to strobes as the music moved to
Part 14 to the music Little Star by Stina Nordenstam. A tired and emotional Romeo dreams of Juliet, love. Shells with gold strobes and then shells of fabulous electric crossette comets in pastels and shells of clusters of silver comets were followed by very high rising comet sequences of silver comets with star shells above as the music moved to
Part 15 to the music Everybody's Free by Quindon Tarver. Link to reprise anthem. Shells of silver comets and red-headed meteor comets were followed by barrages of shells of rings of red crossettes as the music moved to
Part 16 to the music Young Hearts Reprise by Kym Mazelle. The Anthem. Fronts of silver mines with shells of silver crossette comets above and pattern shells of double hearts. Then shells of red with go-getters and shells in the shapes of spirals and shells of aqua stars becoming go-getters. Next, shells of multiple overlapping and concentric rings and another fabulous sequence of fast mines forming the colours of the rainbow as shells in the shape of double five pointed stars above, shells of hearts and bowtie comet shells with rings. These were followed by shells of red crossette stars and shells of clusters of stars. The barrages continued with shells of pastel comets, big shells of comets to stars and more shells of hearts. Then barrages of shells of pink stars and fast sequences of cakes of very bright pastel stars ("Z cakes" again). Barrages of massive bright colour shells above continued and the segment ended with a massive front of rainbow mines.
Part 17 to the music Escape by Craig Armstrong. A dramatic and powerful return to the pending death scene for the audience with an emotive choral chant. Sequence photoflashes were followed by comet fronts with big silver shells above and then fast sequences of comets. Tourbillon candles with barrages of blue shells above increasing in pace and then massive fronts of fast sequenced comets to the left and right with shells of white comets above. More fast comet sequences with shells of kamuros above and then silver kamuros. The pace increased with mines of charcoal glitter and barrages of kamuro shells with colour tips above. Then massive mine fronts and more and more kamuros above continuing to the end of the display with a final front of comets and titanium salutes and enormous kamuros trailing all the way to the lake (and setting a tree on fire to the right), as the crowd cheered loudly.
This was a fantastic display with virtually non-stop action all the way
through, even when narration was taking place. Due to the complexity of
the display, my notes hardly do it justice as they were very hard to read
in many places. The signature sequenced comet fronts with very high rising
comets and the fabulous rainbow mines are always greatly enjoyable. A strong
theme with some good serene moments and other more dramatic sections too.
Since it was so good, a couple of criticisms are due: there were a few times
when very bright shells were shot at the same time as brocade/kamuro/charcoal
shells, detracting from the latter. Also, little use was made of the lake,
save for some flares/strobes and, finally, the finale was a little bit small
but this is probably due to the overall scale of the rest of the display.
Despite these criticisms, this display was indeed excellent and is right
up there at the front of the pack for a place on the winner's podium this
year. Special thanks to Rob McDermott for providing me with the thematic
notes shown in this style in the report.
Atlas PyroVision Producions. Designed by Stephen Pelkey and Matt Shea, Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography; Pyromate wireless firing
Northeastern United States pyrotechnics leader and one of the most
well-regarded in the American pyrotechnics industry, Atlas PyroVision Producions
is a successful company hailing from New Hampshire that has reaped the rewards
of more than 50 years of artistic and scientific innovations. For their second
appearance at this competition, Atlas PyroVision Producions will present
A Pyrotechnic Symphony, a majestic pyromusical display that pays tribute
to the Montréal International Fireworks Competition. Energy and
excitement are on the menu with a dazzling array of compelling music, including
Alicia Key's Falling, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Pink's
Get The Party Started, Lord of the Dance's Warrior
and John Travolta's Greased Lightning.
Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
After an earlier threat of rain, a clear evening was the backdrop to a capacity crowd for this highly anticipated display from Atlas. Creating an extra launch site composed of seven small floating barges, equipped with wireless digital firing systems, these were positioned seemingly close to the audience and offered an extra dimension to what is already a fantastic firing site. Stephen Pelkey told me that he had worked very hard on the colour aspects of this display, even consulting with a professor of art to set the appropriate mood for each tableau. Stephen also told me that he always looked forward to coming to Montreal and that it was fun to be given such a canvas to work with.
Pre-Introduction to the music American Symphony the theme from the film Mr. Holland's Opus. Fans of pastel headed comets with shells of silver crossettes above were followed by silver kamuros which trailed to the lake. Fans of glitter comets on ramp 5 with shells of comets above and then mine fan blasts on ramp 5 were followed by shells of firefly charcoal comets and the same on ramp 4. Then sequences of colour mines and comets with shells above followed by colour mines to the left and right with shells of crackle above, this introductory segment coming to a close with colour mines and shells of bright colour comets above.
Narrative Introduction to the music Marrakesh Marketplace from the film Gladiator. As the narrative introduction basically repeated the press release, paying tribute to the Montréal International Fireworks Competition for raising the bar in the quality of pyromusicals with such great designers as Eric Tucker, Alberto Navarro, Georg Alef and Pierre Walder, flares lit up at the back of the display area.
Part 1 to the music Warrior from Lord of The Dance The flares at the back from the previous section turned into strobes as red nautical flares lit up in the lake and turned into white strobes. Fans of glitter comets started up on ramp 5 and pastel meteor comets on ramps 4 and 3 with perfect synchronization. As the comet fans continued, shells of charcoal comets to strobes fired above and then fans of pastel stars below and gold glitter comets on ramp 5. Next, star shots angled to the left and right on ramp 3 with glitter comets on ramp 5 and willow bombettes behind which were a bit too dim to see. Above these, colour star shells as fans of mines lit up on ramp five and fronts of mines on ramp 3 with alternating colours between adjacent mines. Above these, colour star shells followed by shells of go-getters in stars and silver comets. The alternating colour mines continued below with shells of crossing-stars above, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 2 to the music At Last by Etta James A serene beginning to this segment with double ascension girandolas in gold glitter and meteor-headed gold glitter comets. Above these, shells of very vivid red and blue stars as the girandolas came to an end. Then crossed pastel meteor-headed gold comets with shells of purple stars and gold glitter comet pistils above. These continued and were followed by shells of charcoal comets with fireflies and then shells of willow stars turning to silver and then shells of beautiful mixed strobing pastels. Sequences of comet fans on ramp five were augmented by shells of pastel meteor-headed gold comets, the segment coming to a close with brilliantly sequenced colour star shots below and glitter comet and firefly kamuros above to cheers from the audience.
Part 3 to the music Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Pink, MYA. Sequences bright colour star shots were followed by shells of colour-headed crossette comets and more fan sequences of colour star shots below. Above these, shells of bright go-getters and then gold glitter crossette shells followed by huge shells of comets (which wiggled at the end) and colour pistils. Sequences of colour star shots on ramp 5 were augmented by shells of comets to colour stars above and fans of meteor comets on ramp 4 and then more gold glitter crossettes above. The fans of pastel meteor comets continued in the centre and then angled mine sequences, bright mine fans in the centre and rhythmic glitter mine sequences bringing the segment to a close.
Part 4 to the music Get this Party Started by Pink. Big fans of colour headed comets filled the sky and were followed by large shells of comets with pistils above and then bright crossed comet shots below. Next, shells of bright silver crossette comets and shells of rings of tourbillons (farfalle). These continued and were augmented by shells of stars and tourbillons and added emphasis to the lyric which was saying "dancing". More barrages of shells of silver crossette comets were followed by shells of comets and pistils and then shells of electric comets with star pistils, shells of go-getters and fast mine sequences below, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 5 to the music Fallin' by Alicia Keys. A serene start with kamuro shells, fitting perfectly with the lyric "fallin'", and pastel meteor headed gold glitter comet fans. These were followed by bombettes of strobes with large shells of bright colour pistils turning to strobes above. The comet sequences and strobe bombettes continued with more of the large shells of bright colour pistils turning to strobes above. Very well synchronized sequences of fans of comets exactly on the notes were followed by shells of purple with gold glitter comet pistils and then shells of comets with red pistils as gold glitter comet fans continued below. Next, shells of white waterfall comets, trailing down gently followed by shells of falling leaves, again emphasising the music. These falling leave shells continued, serenely filling the sky as pastel meteor gold glitter comet fans fired below with shells of weeping willows ending in colour stars above brought the segment to a close.
Part 6 to the music Greased Lightning by John Travolta. After the serenity of the previous segment, blasts of angled mines on ramp five and fronts of mines on ramp 3 raised the tempo. Then shells of colour stars and comets followed by shells of bright star crossettes which fast sequences of colour stars fired below. Then shells of crackling comet pistils and multiple crackling petals fired above with bursts of mines below. These were followed by shells of stars and whistling wiggling comets and then a fabulous sequence of very fast photoflash bursts exactly on the very fast percussion sequence in the music, to gasps from the audience. Shells of serpents and colour stars above with big comet fans below were followed by mines angled to the left and right on the notes and then very thick rising glitter comets one by one exactly in sync, the segment coming to a close with a fantastic moving sequence of bright colour star shots.
Part 7 to the music Compliant De La Butte by Rufus Wainwright. Short duration low bright star shots in sync with the piano notes of music on ramp 5 somewhat hid the fans on trailing glitter comets on ramps 3 and 4 and were then augmented by shells of comets above. These were followed by very large brocade shells ending in colour stars, fitting well with the music. These were followed by shells of beautiful mixed pastel strobes, filling the sky. Next very large shells of comets and pistils, exploding one by one exactly on the notes. Then barrages of white strobe shells followed by shells of go-getters and more strobes. The segment came to a close with a line of short duration fountains in Vs on ramp 5.
Part 8 to the music Firebird Suite Finale by Stravinski. Rotating wheels lit up one by one on ramp five and after they burned out, a fast sequence of pastel comets and then fans of fountains on ramp 5. Shots of charcoal firefly comets were fired on ramps 3 and 4 with shells of charcoal comets turning to strobes above. These then lead into very high firing silver kamuros which continued for a time. Next, shells of rings with comet pistils and shells of rings of crossettes with strobe pistils at a medium height and more silver kamuros high above these. The silver kamuros continued exactly firing on the notes and were followed by popping brocades clusters ending in colour stars and shells of falling leaves with comet shots below, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of titanium salutes and very bright colour comet shells, to cheers from the crowd.
Part 9 to the music Victory from Lord of the dance. This began with mines of firefly comets with shells of silver kamuros above, trailing to the lake. Then colour star shells and shells of silver go-getter comets and shells of blue stars which turned into go-getters. These were followed by sequences of shells of crossing stars (shuttle shells) and then shells of colour stars with starfish comets. Next, colour shots left and right followed by gold brocade shells above with pistils and then back to the sequences of crossing star shells. Sequences of angled comet and star shots below on ramps 3, 4 and 5 were followed by more sequences of crossing star shells. The segment came to a close with sequences of mines and a barrage of bright coloured comet shells above.
Part 10 to the music Sandstorm by Darude. The lyric asked if people were "feeling good", to cheers of approval from the crowd as fans of glitter comets and mines of stars and bees fired at an enticingly slow rate. The techno rhythm of the music became apparent but still the mine and comet sequences were intriguingly slow, teasing at what was to come. Then the fun began as very fast sequences of comets met the tempo of the music and barrages of shells began to fire above in warm colours. The shells barrages continued with mine sequences below in bright orange and yellow and then a sudden and very dramatic colour change to blues and purples, to gasps of astonishment from the crowd. The intense barrages continued but the smoke made it a bit hard to see the details of the shells, but mine and comet sequences continued below with huge shells with pistils above. Finally, an enormous number of simultaneous launches were heard and a massive barrage of titanium salutes which, after they'd finished, revealed a barrage of kamuros had been fired and could now be seen filling the sky and trailing to the lake. The crowd roared their approval for this display and rose to their feet to give a standing ovation.
Stephen Pelkey's consultation with the art professor paid off. The colour changes, particularly in the finale, were an extra source of drama and spectacle. The display was a very interesting mix of intense music and more serene pieces with a very well handled variation in rhythm and pace. The new firing position - ramp 5 - floating close to the audience added a dramatic new dimension and was employed very successfully, save for early on when bright glitter comets close up hid willow bombettes further back. The comet and star chase sequences were very well done and actually fit well with the music, which is sometimes not the case when these type of effects are used. The shells used were of a very high quality throughout and the lack of use of cakes was refreshing. I also appreciated that there wasn't temptation to deploy too huge an arsenal which can sometimes lead to a lack of dynamic range in a display. This display had a very good range from serene moments to well proportioned intense sequences and the finale fit well with the scale of the rest of the display. The colour changes in the finale were very dramatic and lead to gasps of amazement from the audience. It would have been nice to see more nautical shells, though the use of the new ramp 5 did make up for this to an extent. Overall, a very impressive performance from the US team which means that it is very very close at the top. I have a feeling that it will be the choice of music which is the final determinant of the order of the Jupiters. The competition, amongst the contenders, is at a very high level this year.
Royal Pyrotechnie. Designed by Yannick Roy and Serge Péloquin. Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography
Firmly entrenched in Québec for more than 30 years, Royal Pyrotechnie
has made a name for itself with its state-of-the-art firing equipment and the
artistic quality of its pyrotechnics and pyromusical shows. With a foothold now
in Québec, Ontario and New Brunswick, Royal Pyrotechnie has carved a niche
as one of the major players in the Canadian pyrotechnics industry. For its first
appearance at Le Mondial SAQ, Royal Pyrotechnie's master technicians
will pull out all the stops and go full force with their bedazzling pyromusical
show The Sky Cannot Wait. Cascading falls, wheels, fountains candles and
volcanoes [editor mines] in a myriad of colours will bombard the Montréal
skyline, pulsing to the music of great cinematic success stories, including
Gladiator, Forrest Gump, Cocoon and The Man in the Iron Mask
Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
An overly pessimistic, well, just plain wrong, weather forecast said that rain would be a certainty, as has been the misfortune for Canadian displays in the past. Thankfully it was a picture perfect evening, with clear skies and wind in just the right direction to clear the smoke for this very complex debut display from the local team. Using only high quality product from Vicente Caballer and Panzera, this promised to be a strong performance.
Thematically reminiscent of Eric Tucker's Gold Jupiter winning Cinema display from 1998, a seamless flow of music from films was used. Then, as now, it was difficult to take notes due to the complexity and continuous flow. This performance's title of The Sky Cannot Wait became a very appropriate moniker.
Part 1 to the music Canyon of Mazes by James Horner. The display began with a powerful barrage of colour and comet shells and then a short period of narration whilst flares lit up at the back. After the, thankfully short, narration was over, shells of multiple bursts of photoflash fired [though, despite the press release, these have been used several times in Montreal before]. Below these, crossed mines of glitter as the photoflash shells continued. These were followed by fans of glitter comets on ramp 4 with shells of the same above and then crossed mines and fans of glitter comets as the glitter shells continued. These were followed by shells of deep red stars and more comet shells. A line of pairs of white strobes lit up with fast shooting bursts of blue stars angled in at the extreme left and right. Then blue stars in the centre and blue-headed meteor comets. The blue theme continued with the angled star shots at the left and right with blue shells above in the centre and then shells of gold glitter comets with blue stars above. Next, pastel headed gold meteor comets and mines of gold to bot blue and bright blue shells above followed be large gold glitter shells. These were followed by gold kamuros with glitter comet shots below moving this segment seamlessly to
Part 2 to the music The Last Car by Trevor Rabin. Volleys of large shells of orange photoflash bursts fired above fans of salute candles. These were followed by tourbillon candles in the centre with salute candles left and right. Next, huge dazzling lemon yellow headed magnesium meteor comets with shells of lemon yellow stars above and then mines below and more comets. These were followed by shells of purple with glitter comets and candles of salute terminated orange stars with shells of bright falling leaves above and more barrages of the salute terminated colour star candles as the music moved to
Part 3 to the music Leaving Port by James Horner. Much more serene now as a fan of glitter comets was followed by a flight of gold double ascension girandolas. These were followed by a flight of silver and then a flight of a different type of gold girandolas, to cheers from the crowd. These were followed by fans of gold strobing comets with shells of blue stars and gold comets above. This theme continued and then was followed by fans of bright silver stars with multi-break stutata comet shells above. Almost horizontally firing comets from poles at the extreme left and right met just above the middle of ramp 4 in star headed charcoal. These continued and were augmented by the same in shells above. Next fans of silver stars and the same in shells above followed by barrages of colour and comet shells. Then 180° fans of comets in the centre with long comets firing over these from the left and right were followed by bombettes and whistling serpents with titanium salute volleys and shells of colour and comets above. Then fast synchronized mines at the left and right as the shells continued above. These were followed by large shells of bright lemon yellow crossette stars with bright meteor comet shots below. These continued and in mines and then a move to contrasting cool colours. Next crossed candles of dazzling pink stars followed by the same in shells. These continued until there were pink stars at every level, low from candles, medium height from smaller shells and high from large shells as the music moved to
Part 4 to the music Old Bagdad by Jerry Goldsmith. Large fans of meteor comets were followed by barrages of go-getters and then followed by pastel headed comets with bombettes above these and then angled mines followed by comet fronts at the left and then the right. Above these, shells of pastel comets and go-getters and then a fan of bombettes on ramp 4. This was followed by steeply angled comet shots first to the right, then to the left with pastel comet shells above and more fans of bombettes and star mines as the music moved to
Part 5 to the music On Earth as it is in Heaven by Ennio Morricone. A ring of fountains lit up on the roof of ramp 4 with shells of serpents above. Then two sets of two bright suns (a ring of many fountains on a pole) lit up at the left and right as the shells of serpents continued and were augmented by salute terminations. Then a move to a sequence of weeping willow bombettes, then augmented by shells, then larger and larger shells, then star terminated willow comet shells. This continued for a while and then a barrage of salutes and salute terminated glitter comets with shells of salute-terminated tourbillons above. As this continued, very bright fans of crossed glitter left and right with a move to silver kamuro bombettes and in shells too with barrage after barrage of these then back to salute terminated tourbillon shells bringing this segment to a climax as the music moved to
Part 6 to the music Epilogue (Dinosaur) by James Newton Howard. Barrages of large nautical shells of aqua stars (to cheers from the audience) were augmented by fans of bombettes followed by volleys of shells of electric comets as the bombettes of tourbillons continued below. Then shells of rings followed by multi-break shell-of-shells in red and blue and then shells of gold glitter comets and shells of multi colour-changing stars and fronts of mines as the music moved to
Part 7 to the music The River by John Williams Shells of colour and comets above were followed by mines of glitter below as the music became more serene. Then shells of crossettes and fans of colour stars on ramp 4. These continued and were augmented by low angled shots of stars on ramp three as the music moved to
Part 8 to the music Progeny by Hans Zimmer / Lisa Gerrard. Bright purple mines exactly on the notes continued for a while and were then augmented by shells as the note synchronized mines continued. Then shells of delayed firing comets followed by shells of double concentric rings, shells of multiple linked rings. These were followed by fantastic multi-break shells of clusters of red stars, filling the sky with bunches of flowers. Then a mix of red and white and then all white, continuing for a while as the music moved to
Part 9 to the music The Wheat by Hans Zimmer / Lisa Gerrard. A sequence of fast comets was followed by three floating boxes of glittering kamuro comets in the lake, forming the impression of sheaves of wheat. These were augmented by a larger fan of the same comets behind and then barrages of kamuro shells above. Next, candles of very bright silver stars with big shells of stars and comets above followed by pairs of mines left and right and shells of gold glitter above as the music moved to
Part 10 to the music The Ascension by Nick Glennie-Smith. Very fat white comets rose into the air and were followed by multi-break shell-of-shells and stutatas of pale glitter followed by fans of salute terminated comet candles. Barrages of shells of serpents and tourbillons fired above and then shells of stars with whistling serpents followed by a sequence of colour star and white comet shells as the music moved to
Part 11 to the music Tryouts by Jerry Goldsmith. A fast sequence of comets in fans followed by a bright blast of bright comets and mines from ramp 4. Then a line of wheels started to rotate as shells and candles fired fast spinning tourbillons. These were followed by high rising crossing stars in dazzling magnesium in candles. Next, fans of glitter comets and something unreadable due to being dazzled by the magnesium as the music moved to
Part 12 to the music Returning Home by James Horner. Huge shells of rings and colour and comets were followed by shells of charcoal turning to silver. Then shells of comets and colour followed by kamuros with a couple of white shells thrown in by error. These were followed by large multi colour-changing shells and then barrage after barrage of nautic kamuros and then the same but with colour terminated comets. As these continued to cheers from the crowd, fans of tourbillons as the music moved to
Part 13 to the music Run Forrest Run by Alan Silvestri. Fantastic barrages of shells of rings of tourbillons with colour pistils (farfalle shells), some with deep blue, some with red continued for a while and then pattern shells in the shape of double concentric five pointed stars followed by smiley face shells and double concentric ring shells. Next, candles of crossed crackling comets and the same in bombettes with shells of electric comets above, larger and larger. These continued and included the same in shaped bursts of six clusters of crackling electric comets and then titanium salutes. Below these, fans of crossette stars and then huge shells of silver crossette comets followed by shells of bright silver with the same in fans of candles below. A return to electric comet shells and then dazzling mines as the music moved to
Part 14 to the music Tapestry of Nations by Gavin Greenaway. The pace was such that it was difficult to take notes. Fans of bright salute-terminated star candles at a low level, above these, bombettes and barrages of huge shells above in dazzling comets and colours, then a colour change to blue and then back to dazzling barrages. The pace was terrific with salute barrages and enormous sky filling shells. I couldn't take any more notes but simply wrote WOW in big letters as the display came to an end with thunderous barrages of salutes from candles and all manner of big shells above, to enormous cheers from the large crowd.
The pyrotechnicians of Feux Royal received a rapturous standing ovation
from the audience and a visiting pyrotechnician was seen to fall to the
ground to kiss the feet of Yannick Roy, the talented young designer of
this fabulous show. Action-packed throughout with extremely high quality
material, this was very reminiscent of the style used by Eric Tucker in
his Gold Jupiter winning display entitled Cinema in 1998.
Except in Feux Royal's case, the action was even more dramatic with
lots of great nautical shells and the use of lots of different
angles for firing comets. Synchronization was excellent, particularly
in the second half of the display where it was more evident due to the
nature of the music. The title of The Sky Cannot Wait was
entirely appropriate as the only period of dark sky was during the
narration at the beginning, and even then flare were firing. A real
challenge for me to write my notes and I hope I managed to segment the
report correctly. A lot of my notes were very hard to read and I missed
writing about a line of poles with bright star cakes firing criss-cross
in front of the lake - it was in there somewhere. A couple of small
pieces of criticism, there was an instance where bright shells were
fired with willow/kamuros, though I was told this was by accident
and not design and perhaps in a couple of place a bit more time
could have been given between transitions, to give the audience a chance
to catch their breath. That all said though, this absolutely has to be amongst
the winners. As always, I think the final determinant will be the music, but this display
is right up there. The level of the competition this year is extremely high, with at
least five displays now deserving of a prize. Canada, Australia,
Italy, Hong Kong and the United States are all of a level which would
have won the Gold Jupiter only a couple of years ago and all five of
these deserve to be on the winner's podium this year.
Kimbolton Fireworks Limited. Designed by Darryl Fleming; FireOne firing, ScriptMaker choreography.
Very present on the international scene, Kimbolton Fireworks Limited has
received a number of distinctions over the years for the excellence of its
work. In addition to having earned a Special Jupiter in Montréal
in 1993, these English fireworks masters won a silver Vestale at the
prestigious Cannes International Festival of Pyrotechnical Art in 2001,
which allowed them to compete and win a gold Vestale at the same festival
in 2002. This year, Kimbolton Fireworks presents A Night at the Movies,
a sensational pyromusical epic that pays hommage to the greatest successes
of the seventh art. From Star Wars and the Titanic
to Mission Impossible and Moulin Rouge, this major
show will take you on a trip that explores space, romanticism, love
and the great classics.
Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
Weather became the dominant issue for this display. The team lost half a day of setup due to heavy thunderstorms. Then it was hot for a day, then grey and humid. The weather threatened to do its worst but it appeared everything would be OK. Suddenly, at 9:30pm, very strong wind came out of nowhere. So strong that it was difficult to hear the announcements for a while. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing directly at the audience. Then the thought that the unthinkable could happen: cancellation. As the time inched towards 10pm, the wind didn't diminish. Everyone waited nervously. Then an announcement that the display would be delayed by 25 minutes until the wind, as confirmed by the meteorologists at Dorval airport, would subside enough to allow the display to be fired safely. Just after 10pm, the wind died down a lot. Darryl Fleming came to see me at 10:20 and commented that I would have something interesting to write here! Then the wind increased and once again diminished. Finally, an announcement that the display would start. Expectantly people awaited the countdown from 10. But nothing, just silence. Then a slow handclap from the audience. A minute passed. Would it be canceled? The wind seemed to be picking up again. But finally, the countdown took place and the display started at 10:27. At around 10:40, heavy rain started, frustratingly because the period from 10:00 until 10:30 was completely dry. I put a small umbrella over my notebook and battled on regardless, trying to write even though I couldn't see, both because the notebook was covered, and my eyes got ash and rain in them. But after about 10 minute, the rain more or less stopped and it didn't detract from the display too much. What a way to celebrate my 100th display!
Introduction to the music Fanfare by Alfred Newman. The classic 20th Century Fox movie fanfare, but no fireworks!
Part 1 to the music Star Wars by John Williams. A barrage of large shells with pistils opened the show with comet candles below, followed be shells of falling crackling comets and bombette candles. Then brocade shells above with purple and green candles below followed by shells of rings and then shells with half in one colour and the other half in another. These were followed by double concentric ring shells, shells in the shape of spirals and then shells of silver kamuro comets with pistils as the music moved seamlessly into
Part 2 to the music E.T. by John Williams. More multi ring shells and shells of pistils with rings, like planets, followed by candles of thick white comets and then high silver kamuros followed by bombette candles. These were followed by more shells of rings with pistils as the bombettes continued below. Next shells of charcoal comets turning to colour and then shells of white dahlia comets and then candle of silver kamuro bombettes. As these continued, dahlia shells of crackling white comets and then charcoal to silver shells, trailing to the ground to cheers from the crowd.
Part 3 to the music Sandstorm by Darude. Cakes of crossette comets were followed by followed by shells of tourbillons above and shells of rings of tourbillons (farfalle). Shells of rings of salutes (siatene) and more farfalle shells were followed by shells of go-getters and big fronts of mines ending in salutes and then fans of comets below with more go-getter shells above. These were followed by shells of crossette crackling comets and then big silver comet crossette shells. A theme of silver shells was followed by huge shells of colour star crossettes, filling the sky, with the segment coming to a close with a front of mines and a huge crossette star shell, filling the sky as the audience cheered.
Part 4 to the music Titanic by James Horner. Much more serene music now as blue star candles fired at the left and right and then gold glitter shells fired above. These were augmented by charcoal comet bombette candles and then shells of slow falling blue stars and comets. Next, shells of gold glitter with blue stars and candles below in blue stars and gold comets. These were followed by large shells of green turning to blue and then a massive shell of multi clusters of blue stars, bringing the segment to a close as the music moved to
Part 5 to the music Riverdance by Bill Whelan. A line of really big fountains (with, unfortunately, a couple not firing) lit up and then fast sequenced ("Z cakes") of crackling comet fans. These were followed by bombette candles and shells of rings of tourbillons with stars (farfalle). Next, shells of orange stars in clusters with white star candles below and then crackling bombettes and salvos of salutes. These were followed by candles of pastel headed meteor gold comets with shells of six rays of clustered charcoal comets at a high level and shells of small stars at a medium level. Next, candles of salutes and crossette stars and then a note sequence of stars in rainbow colours with shells of fast moving go-getters above. These were augmented by shells of salutes and thick comet fans on ramp 4, then fans of colour stars on ramp 4 followed by a return to the farfalle shells and crossette candles. Above these, salutes and shells of crossette stars and then crossette comet shells and shells with 8 rays of clusters of comets. The pace was increasing with barrages of massive shells of crackling electric crossette comets, filling the sky with more and more, bringing the segment to a close to cheers from the crowd.
Part 6 to the music Elevation by U2. Fans of crackling charcoal comets were followed by mines of charcoal comets and then shells above these. These were followed by mines or cakes of tourbillons with large shells above and then candles of tourbillons. Above these, kamuro shells and then shells of serpents and colour stars and then shells of comets with pistils. These were followed by silver kamuro shells followed by shells of blue with strobing pistils as candles of glitter comets fired below. Then really large shells of half one colour, half another, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of large shells ending in gold brocade.
Part 7 to the music Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. Great note-synchronized mines to the left, right then in the centre-up. Then the same thing in comets, also in perfect synchronization. Then fronts of mines, again on the notes followed by crossed candles of glitter comets with shells of wiggly comets above. This theme continued and then the segment was brought to a close with shells of bees and "lazy" go-getters.
Part 8 to the music The Good, The Bad & The Ugly by Ennio Morricone. The well-known theme was played without the whistling - except the whistle was provided by screaming comet candles with tourbillons, to great effect. Then shells with pistils followed by shells of pastel coloured dahlia comets and more whistling comets below, as the rain started and my ability to take note diminished.
Part 9 to the music Mission Impossible by Hans Zimmer. Flame projectors opened up in a line with deep blue bombettes and the same in shells above. This theme continued alternating between bombettes and shells and then something unreadable followed by bombette candles of fast strobes with strobe shells and then nautic flares lit up on the lake. The strobe shells continued above and then the nautic flares started to strobe. These were followed by candles of strobing charcoal comets with shells of small stars above and then shells of crackling electric comets above, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of shells of strobing charcoal comets.
Part 10 to the music James Bond by Propeller Heads. A barrage of titanium salutes were followed by volleys of large crackling shells above.Then shells of go-getters with crackling candles below. This theme continued and developed, as the rain continued and made it difficult to write, let alone see. Barrages of huge shells ending in crackle were followed by large kamuros, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 11 to the music Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Maya & Pink. Crossed clusters of bombettes in electric crackling comets were followed by barrages of large dahlia comet shells above and then shells of comets with star pistils and shells of rings of tourbillons. These were followed by shells of go-getters with pistils of crackling stars, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of popping brocade cluster shells.
Part 12 to the music Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend by Nicole Kidman. Shells of rings and shaped-burst shells in the shape of diamonds, sometimes coincident forming the pattern of a diamond ring were the opening theme in this segment. Below these, bombette candles and then shells of crackling electric comets. The bombette candles continued with more shells of concentric rings above and diamond patterns and were augmented by candles of strobe comets. The segment came to a close with waterfall comet shells ending in strobes.
Part 13 to the music Your Song by Ewan McGregor & Allessandro Safina. A line of triple and X-pattern white fountains lit up as nautic fountains burst to life in the lake. Then a front of mines followed by barrages of huge nautic shells with shells barrages above. The nautic shell barrages continued and were augmented by bombette candles and then shells in half one colour, half another with pistils in the opposite colours. Candles of bombettes continued as barrages of shells of pistils and comets fired above followed by shells of kamuro comets with strobing pistil. These were followed by candles of multi colour clusters of stars with barrage of massive shells above and shells of stars and starfish comets, the segment coming to a close with massive shells of glittering crackling kamuro comets.
Part 14 to the music Love Medley by Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor. A line of tripe and X-pattern gold fountains lit up with bombette candles behind and then shells of comets with pistils, followed by fans of comets below. These were followed by more of the half one colour half another shells and then tourbillon candles and shells of tourbillons with barrages of shells of charcoal turning to colour. As the tourbillon candles continued, barrage of shells of 6 ray clusters of charcoal comets turning to red followed by massive shells of star red star crossettes and then shells of popping clusters of stars. Below these, candles of clusters of stars and then a repeating theme of large kamuro shells, trailing to the lake and ending in strobes, to cheers from the crowd, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 15 to the music Flower of Scotland by Scottish Moods. A line of flares lit up, then star candles filling in from the left and right one by one until they met at the centre and filled ramp 3. These were then augmented by a line of V firing fast blue star cakes and then thick comet fans. Above these, silver brocade shells as bombette candles were added below. Then shells of tourbillons and farfalle shells followed by shells of 6 ray clusters of comets. Then shells of stars and slow falling comets more more shells of rings of tourbillons. Next, big blue shells with bombettes below, the segment coming to a close with huge brocade shells ending in popping clusters of brocade comets, filling the sky.
Part 16 to the music Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli & Sara Brightman. Fans of bright star cluster candles were followed by shells of strobes above with glitter comets. Then shells of meteor headed pastel comets, with bombette candles below and then gold meteor comet shells. Gold meteor comet candles were augmented by kamuro shells above and then a repeating theme of blue shells with gold strobing pistils and shells of comets with star pistils. These were followed by half one colour half another shells and then barrages of weeping willow shells. Below these weeping willows, charcoal comet fans as the weeping willows were replaced by kamuros and then crackling comet kamuros. Then back to huge barrages of weeping willow shells (with and out of place half one colour half another shell in the middle), the segment coming to a close with the sky filled with weeping willow shells.
Part 17 to the music Overture from William Tell by Ljubljana Symphony. Big shells of blue pistils and red stars were followed by sequenced comets with more barrage of big shells above. Then shells of comets and stars and shells of half one colour, half another with the pistils in the reverse. A moving sequence of stars from to right, then in mines and augmented by bombettes. A barrage of large shells, then the music became more serene and so fans of candles of clusters of bright stars reflected this. Them as the music began to build, shells of red and blue pistils above, shells of half one colour half another. Then comets firing to the left, comets firing to the right with crossette crackling shells above and barrages of nautic shells. Then mines on the notes from three positions, then five, then seven and then nine, increasing with the music followed by volleys of shells above. Then fronts of mines in silver with red stars, back to a note-sequence of stars then mines. Four-break Maltese shells fire left and right and as the music built, so the levels of the display built with huge shells above, barrages of salutes and tourbillons, filling the sky with massive shells, a final barrage of salutes, leaving massive kamuros trailing to the lake with cheers from the crowd and a big WOW in my notes.
This was a great display to end the competition with. Good use of the different levels of the display, from the low to the high and a nice use of the lake. Some clever effects too, like the use of pyrotechnic whistles in "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly". Good choice of music in my opinion and a great finale which really built well with the music. A couple of technical difficulties were apparent and the team had bad weather during the setup which cost them time. Very good quality material used throughout, especially the candles which were very well timed so that it was difficult to determine sometimes if they were one shot or multi-shot. A bit of criticism is due, since the display was so good. There were a couple of spots where the wrong shells were mixed in, for example, colour shells in willow sequences and sometimes the synchronization wasn't as well demonstrated as at other times. My notes were quite difficult to read due to the rain through the middle of the display and this distracted from the display itself unfortunately which meant I probably lost some of the emotional feel. Would probably be in with the winners, but I suspect the bad weather and late start may have an impact on the final result, especially with the level of the competition so exceptionally high this year.
Darryl later explained to me that the initial silence after the first announcement of the commencement of the display was because the firing computer and the audio track timecode were not started in the right order. So the system had to be rebooted so the firing computer was ready before the timecode started. He said it was like a roller-coaster ride for everyone in the control room.
Somehow it seemed appropriate that my 100th
display would have something unusual happen, and doubly appropriate that it was
by England and affected by rain and bad weather!
For once, a truly great competition. Not since the late 1990's have we seen such a close run contest, with a the exceptions noted amongst the displays. Usually, there are three displays which stand out with perhaps a fourth vying for the Bronze. This year, there were six displays which could make it into the top three, meaning there were four trying for third place.
In general, the weather was very good. Despite it raining during the day for several of the displays, every single evening was dry, save for the bad luck suffered by Kimbolton. Not only did they have some rain during their display, the start was delayed due to strong wind and they lost time during their setup due to thunderstorms. They also had bad luck in previous years with smoke accumulation.
As usual, I will present a summary of each display and then
give my personal rankings together with my prediction for
the popular jury's votes. For interest, I've also tabulated
how many pages of notes I took down for each
display (under "Pages"). Where there is an asterix, it
means my notes for the finale were mainly summarized by the
word WOW in big wobbly letters. It is interesting to
note that I wrote about 10-15% more per display compared to
Considering this was a manually fired display, not a bad effort but, unfortunately, noticeably below the par of the competition this year. There were some interesting moments, particularly the crackle sequence to Storm by Vanessa Mae, but with an emphasis on candles throughout the display, just not enough visible synchronization to be an effective pyromusical. Despite a strong musical theme, the rhythm was spoiled by just too many episodes of dark sky during periods of narration. If the audience has to be told what they're seeing, then there is a problem!
|Hong Kong / China||PyroDigital & ShowDirector||
Excellent theme and artistic design with a good choice of music and some fantastic product. Amazing Maltese Raddiena was unfortunately swallowed by its distance from the audience and too many distracting shells and comets. Otherwise, very well designed and choreographed, with a nice mix of serene moments and intense sections, but probably too many mini finalés at the end of some of the tableaux. Very memorable were the Chinese lanterns floating on the lake, some great comet sequences to the plucks of harp strings. An interesting choice of music which very well reflected the theme of the display. Very bad luck with the technical problem in the last 90 seconds of the finalé which will mean this display is just outside of the winners.
Not really obvious what the theme was, but a very impressive display nevertheless. Fantastic nautical shells, especially the tapieta and a great Italian finalé, but not quite as great as some we've seen in the past. Trademark rainbow candle and mine sequence was excellent, but the main problem with the display was that it was very similar to other Parente displays I've seen in that it contained the same sequences. But that said, the first display of the year to ellicit a Wow in my notes. The choice of music appeared to appeal to popular tastes rather than being part of a defined theme. Bound to be popular with the jury, but just outside the top three in my opinion.
At the limit of what can be achieved by a manually fired display with generally good synchronization considering the complexity. Interesting special effects such as the burning lake and the large fireballs. An interesting musical theme, but this could have been better exploited with electronic firing. With the level of the competition being so high this year, will not be amongst the winners, but a display at a higher level than the French entrant in my opinion.
After an interesting debut in 2001, there were great expectations for this display. Unfortunately, those expectations were sadly missed. Surprising was the lack of the use of the lake. This is understandable for a debutante, but was missed opportunity here. Noticably less product than all the other displays, and just not enough dramatic moments - even the finale was somewhat less than I expected. The choice of music seemed to be based more on popularity than any organization into a theme. After the innovations of Groupo Luso last year, a big disappointment, the title of Magical Moments just not being appropriate I'm afraid.
|Australia||PyroDigital & ShowDirector||
Probably the most well-defined theme of the competition this was a very well designed display. However, many of the sequences were familiar from the previous entry by this team in 2000 and they didn't always work well with the music. Also surprising was the lack of use of the lake, except from some bengals/strobes. Nevertheless, a very good display overall though the finale was not quite in proportion to the rest of the display. Will be fighting with Italy for a place on the winner's podium.
|United States||PyroDigital & ShowDirector||
A very well designed and tastefully executed display, with a good range of levels of intensity. Very interesting use of the extra firing ramp, though the lake itself was sadly neglected, save for a few bengals/strobes. Excellent use of colour, especially the very dramatic colour change in the finale. Good choice of music, though it wasn't altogether obvious what the theme was. Bound to be a winner.
|Canada||PyroDigital & ShowDirector||
Very well designed and seamlessly choreographed complex display with perfect synchronization. Great use of the lake and lots of interesting angles used for firing comets. Reasonable variation in rate and rhythm, though a few places for the audience to catch their breath would have been appreciated. The final determinant of this display's position amongst the winners will be the music. To my taste, some pieces sounded too similar to each other and I heard others say they didn't like it. If the jury liked the music, could well be the Gold Jupiter winner, if not, then most likely Silver. An excellent effort as a debut display though.
|United Kingdom||FireOne & ScriptMaker||
The only victim of bad weather, both during the setup and the display itself. Very good material used, excellent use of the lake and a good strong soundtrack. Unfortunately, the Movies theme has been done before and a couple of the pieces are on their way to becoming pyromusical clichés. Brilliant finale with an excellent progression of the fireworks with the music. In other parts of the display, the good synchronization that was seen in some of the tableaux was not so evident from the choice of material used. Just pipped at the post for a place amongst the finalists.
Paul's jury predictions
- Gold Jupiter - United States
- Silver Jupiter - Canada
- Bronze Jupiter - Italy
Paul's personal choice
- Gold Jupiter - United States
- Silver Jupiter - Canada
- Bronze Jupiter - Hong Kong / China
On the social aspect of the competition, this has been a vintage year. It was with great pleasure that I spent time with Toni and Clint Busuttil - what masters of their craft! I also had the pleasure to welcome visitors from the United States, Denmark and Sweden. It truly is a great place to meet fellow pyrotechnicians and enthusiasts from all over the world and I'm very grateful to all the dedicated staff at La Ronde who work untold hours to make this competition happen. Many people would be shocked to see how much work is required to pull off this competition so flawlessly every year. So special thanks to Martyne Gagnon, Paul Csukassy, Anne-Marie Desautels and everyone else whom space doesn't permit me to mention. Once again, you gave me a memorable summer and a chance to indulge my passion.
One final note, just to say that I consider myself a reporter on the competition,
not a critic. The combination of fireworks and music excites different people
in different ways. My musical tastes are different to other people's and this
inevitably influences my enjoyment of a display. This year some displays
which I personally really liked, others disliked because of the music. My job,
as your humble reporter, is to describe what I saw and report the music
used. The Jury has the difficult job of deciding which three should "win".
In fact, just being invited to compete sets these companies apart.
For a different perspective on the displays, take a look at
Georges Lamon's web site, Georges is the official critic at La Presse,
one of the local french newspapers. His reports are in French, but
the on-line translation programs give a good sense of his thoughts.
- Gold Jupiter - Royal Pyrotechnie, Canada
- Silver Jupiter - Explosive Entertainment International, Australia
- Bronze Jupiter - Pyromagic Productions Ltd, Hong Kong / China
Panzera S.A.S., designed by Pierpaolo Serafino, music by Piere Walder, traditional electrical firing
This year, the Montréal International Fireworks Competition dedicates the enchantment of its closing show to the 25th anniversary of Leucan, an organization that helps children with cancer as well as their families. In tribute to these courageous and determined youngsters, the master technicians of Panzera S.A.S. and La Ronde will present Humoresque - a spectacular ballet of colours, rhythms and suprising pyrotechnical effects that hopes to lighten the children's load by offering a moment where laughter, wonder and innocent spontaneity prevail. With smiles in mind, this pyromusical show will draw on a whimsical and humorous soundtrack that includes musical themes from the great composers, such as Vivaldi, Strauss and Beethoven; the light-hearted, airy and amusing sonds of Bourvil, Henri El Salvador and Spike Jones; and finally some musical surprises particularly intended for our special guests of honour. The Jupiters will be awarded prior to the closing ceremony performance
As usual, I didn't write a report but just watched a great display under
perfect summer skies. The soundtrack can be
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.