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L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2005
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Spain Spanish Passion Wednesday July 13th, 2005

Pirotecnia Ricardo Caballer, S.A. (Ricasa) Designed by Ricardo Caballer; Pyrodigital firing, Show Director choreography, 456 FM modules, 6061 cues

"For the members of the manufacturing firm of PIROTECNIA RICARDO CABALLER, S.A. (RICASA), descendants of the famous Caballer families of Spain, fireworks is a century-old tradition passed down from generation to generation. Ricardo Caballer is a veteran of most of the great international fireworks competitions, at which its pyrotechnical excellence has been rewarded no less than 25 times. With 'Spanish Passion', the firm's goal is to convey the passionate yet tender character of the Spanish people by revisiting their way of life, traditions and beliefs through pyromusical performance. And, to lend an authentically Iberian atmosphere to the proceedings, the firm has chosen to emphasize the two most popular of traditional Spanish musical styles: the zarzuela and the pasodoble (but it won't fail to pay brief tribute to Don Quixote, on the 400th anniversary of this celebrated character's creation by Cervantes)."

After several days of extreme heat and humidity, the forecast thunderstorms failed to materialize and we were treated to a perfect summer's evening, though rather more wind would have been welcome. With 100% of the material coming from Ricasa's own production facilities, we were promised that all their products would be on display. This was especially true for their range of one shot stars and mines as there were 230 FM-16 firing modules dedicated to these alone on ramp 3. This will be reflected in the report as the fast sequences used are difficult to accurately describe. The total number of cues used, 6061, was also a record for a Montreal display. Thus the stage was set for a highly anticipated peformance from the Valencian team.

Part 1 to the music The Man of La Mancha performed by Placido Domingo. An opening fanfare was accompanied by a sequence of fat crossing firefly comets moving left and right simultaneously. Then another sequence in fat silver comets and mines. The display proper then began with a barrage of weeping willow shells and then candles of the acellerating upwards silver comets. This comet theme continued and was augmented by shells of go-getters above. A line of 13 set pieces in the shape of windmills lit up in red along ramp 3. These then began to turn with gold glitter drivers (save for one stubborn one in position 13) to applause from the audience. Mines of strobes, then mines of stars and tourbillons were followed by shells of charcoal comets and tourbillons. This theme continued and was followed by barrages of shells of pale gold Niagara Falls comets with sequences of glitter firefly comets crossing below. This theme continued and was followed by shells of glitter comets with pistils and then a sequence of kamuro shells with pistils at a high level and spider comet shells at a mid level. Glittering meteor-headed comet candles and spider shells contined at mid and low level with kamuro shells with strobing pistils above. These continued and then barrages of bright colour shells, filling the sky to cheers and bringing the segment to a close. above.

Part 2 to the music Suspiros de España by Alvarez. Sequences of star mines with tourbillons opened this segment. Then one shots with lemon stars and star mines in sequences building and adding bombettes. The build continued with shells of stars and tourbillons above as the bombettes continued below in pastel yellows. More sequences of mines with stars and tourbillons as shells of rings of stars with serpents burst above. The mines of stars and tourbillons sequences continued below, fitting the music very well as the shells of stars and serpents continued above. Next, shells of stars with glitter comet pistils and then more shells of tourbillons followed by sequences of bright-headed meteor comets. The sequences continued with mines of stars with bright-headed meteor comets, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 3 to the music Capricho espanol by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Spider shells with screaming serpents were followed by sequences of thick comets and then a sequence of comet fan candles. These were followed by barrages of silver kamuro shells and then sequences of bright coloured star mines with strobes in as well. A sequence of flash pots on ramp 3 was followed by erruptions of bright coloured fireballs and then more silver kamuros above. A line of gold fountains in Vs opened up on ramp 3 as a sequence of fast star shots was fired. Then the gold fountains becamed silver as another fast star sequence was fired. The segment came to a close with a barrage of bright comet shells filling the sky.

Part 4 to the music Boda de Luis Alonso by Gimenez. This began with shots of screaming serpents and stars and then dazzling sequences of brilliantly coloured meteor comets moving left and right. These continued and were followed by more of the star and screaming serpent shots. Then mines of single stars with strobes followed by a line of silver wheels turning on ramp 3. These then had a second burn and were followed by shells of stars with glitter comets. Next, candles of gold meteors. These were followed by star shots where the stars had small charcoal tails and then mines of strobes. Crossed comets with stars and brilliant colours were followed by shots of colour changing stars and then gold glitter comet to star bombettes. Above these, shells of stars and glitter comets and then candle of gold glitter comets turning to fireflies and more shells of stars with glitter comet pistils above. Next, fans of colour headed meteor comets as the shells of stars and glitter continued. A return to the fans of bright coloured meteor comets and then shots of screaming serpents with the same above in huge shells filling the air and causing a wow in my notes.

Part 5 to the music Agua, azucarillos y aguadientes by Unknown. Strobe mines with shells of glitter comets and stars were followed by candles of bright coloured meteor comets and then the same above in shells. Next, sequences of firefly comets followed by pastel-headed gold glittering comet candles and then the bright colour-headed gold comets. A sequence of flashes, in perfect synchronization to the music, was follwed by shells of gold glitter and stars and then very dense mines of glitter turning to gold strobes. These were followed be sequences of star and comet mines, silver glitter comets, sequences of star mines and then screaming tourbillons. Above these shells of glitter turning to gold strobes. More sequences in stars and comets were followed by large shells of blue and gold bringing the segment to a close.

Part 6 to the music Tambor de Granaderos by Rodolfo Chapi. Fast note-sequenced mines in bright colours were followed by shots of the silver acellerating comets. These shots continued and were followed by more note-sequenced mines and then more of the acellerating comets. These were followed by colour-changing star shots and then mines in Vs in very intense colours. These brilliant mines continued and were interspersed with star shots and acellerating comets. Then mines of bright coloured comets turning to salutes augmented by shells of the same above filling the sky and bringing the segment to a close.

Part 7 to the music El Gato Montes by Penella. Mines of single stars with stars in fast sequences were augmented by farfalle shells above and then shells of colour-headed comets and tourbillons. Next, a repeating sequence of mines of strobes with shells of tourbillons above. This was followed by fast sequences of comets with shells of gold glitter and tourbillons above, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 8 to the music España by Emmanuel Chabrier. Shells of yellow crossette comets were followed by shots of bright orange stars below and then shells of the same. Then shells with stars in the colours of the Spanish flag with more bright star shots below. Barrages of shells of stars and serpents were followed by fast mines and then a return to the shells of yellow comet crossettes. These were followed by more colour comet crossette shells with mines below. Fast sequences of stars and comet mines with shells of colour stars and tourbillons above were followed by a dazzling barrage of colour and comet shells bringing the segment to a close.

Part 9 to the music River Dance by Bill Whelan. A flight of double ascension gold glittering giradolas rose, fell and rose again into the air to cheers from the crowd. Then another flight of brighter girandolas bursting to stars. Lines of gerbs in fleur-de-lys shapes opened on ramp 3 as candles of firefly comets were added. Then sequences of flash pots exactly on the drums of the music. These were followed by mines of colour and strobes in fast sequences and then fast and bright mines of stars. Another sequence of tightly synchronized flash pots was followed by a line of glittering gold wheels which then changed colour as fans of gold firefly comets fired in fans. Next, sequences of shells of comets turning to strobes with sequences of firefly comets below. These increased in intensity and number as the air became filled with strobes. The segment came to a close with a barrage of strobe star studatas.

Part 10 to the music 4th Movement 9th Symphony "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven. The finale began intensely with fast sequences of dazzling mines with large starfish comet and star shells above. The intensity continued to increase with many very fast sequences. Then the pace relaxed with the music and moved to large gold kamuros which trailed to the lake. The pace picked up again as I lost the ability to take notes. The sky became filled with dazzling meteor-headed comet shells in fabulous colours, barrages of salutes, comet and mine sequences and then a fantastic sequence of ground salutes rushing across ramp three as all hell was breaking above. The display came to a thunderous close with a volley of large salutes and the air filled with dazzling colour to great cheers from the large audience and a large WOW in my notes.

This was a very complex and highly sequenced display and my notes can't do justice to the many comet and mine sequences in all sorts of shapes and arrangements. The dazzling colours were just amazing with deep orange, lemon yellows, mauve, bright blues and incredible pastel colours. The huge range of one-shot devices used were just amazing - many of the mines or shots were combined effects such as a large meteor comet with a star mine or a large star with smaller stars below or a mix of strobes and a comet. The angles used were very precise, presumably because the racks for the one-shots are prefabricated. Every possible combination of colour and effect was used. Synchonization was flawless throughout, though there did appear to be one mis-addressed module in one spot. Fortunately, this didn't spoil any of the sequences, nor did the fire that took hold in the middle of ramp 3 towards the end of the display. As expected, an intense finale and the audience gave the Spanish team a standing ovation. I was surprised, though, that no nautical effects were used in the display and the range of shells used was more limited than I expected. I think the emphasis was placed on the plethora of one-shot devices but I wish the ground-salute sequences had been greater in number and earlier in the display where i think they would have been better appreciated. These minor criticisms aside, this was a dazzling display and a technical triumph for such complexity. The competition is so tight this year it is really hard to place the top three. So far, there have been four displays which should qualify for a prize and it's really hard to pick the order. My picks for the top three at the moment are Sweden, Argentina and Spain but it's hard to say the exact order. That said, I think I have Sweden in the #1 spot at the moment.


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