Le Mondial SAQ 2003
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
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.
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.