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L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2008
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Portugal And The Winner Is ... Saturday July 12th, 2008

Grupo Luso Pirotecnia. Designed by Vitor Machado, Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography; 220 firing modules, ~3300 cues

Grupo Luso Pirotecnia

Montréal, Friday, July 11, 2008 - The stands at La Ronde will serve as an outdoor theater Saturday evening when Grupo Luso Pirotecnia offers up a pyromusical tribute to the greatest films that have long been sources of inspiration for composers and performers as part of the International des Feux Loto-Québec presented by TELUS.

Music from the shows - ranging from Beauty and the Beast to Jaws, from James Bond to Mission Impossible, including, of course, Psycho - are indeed unforgettable. Indeed, it has carried a number of producers to the podium for that little statuette on hearing their names called out after that memorable phrase "And the winner is...."

The Portuguese firm had no pretensions of proclaiming its own victory by naming their presentation "And the winner is...." Indeed, its representatives are very aware that the title could be misunderstood or appear pretentious. Nevertheless, Grupo Luso Pirotecnia has no need to be modest after having won the silver Jupiter in Montréal in 2002 as well as taking top awards in other prestigious competitions (Cannes and Chantilly). Moreover, the firm was selected to design a major pyrotechnical show to inaugurate the sublime Vasco de Gama Bridge in 1998 and another to kick off Euro 2004, the European Football Championship, which was held in Portugal that year.

For "And the winner is..." on Saturday, Grupo Luso chose readily identifiable music. While designer Vitor Machado acknowledges that the selections are often used for pyrotechnical shows, he feels that he has given them new life through an original interpretation. As he puts it, "we are transposing the emotions created by these movies and music into pyrotechnical effects." These musical hits have been grouped into blocks (classical, suspense, science fiction, animations, romance, and adventure). A number of them will be accompanied by rare pyrotechnical pieces, including some lying directly on the water without flotation devices. It’s one of those effects that can’t be seen anywhere but at La Ronde!

Perfect weather conditions prevailed for this highly anticipated display from the renowned Portuguese consortium. After their stunning debut in 2002 with the most innovative display in the competition's history to that date, their 2005 return was perhaps too innovative for some. Scaling back on some design aspects (such as complex structures) allowed the company to focus on the design of the display itself but still retain the element of surprise which is needed for such a high level competition as Montreal. The capacity audience were certainly justified in their anticipation.

Part 1 to the music Fox Fanfare by the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Shells of go-getters were launched during the countdown so they exploded exactly on the opening chords of the familiar fanfare. Then sequences of gold comets unfolding left and right like curtains opening as huge fronts of right then left angled mines fire up between then. A huge barrage of shells and large mines in the centre brought this short segment to and end with a volley of titanium salutes.

Part 2 to the music Main Title by the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Blue star candles were augmented by silver falling leaf shells as a brief narration explained the display and then more go-getters as the music moved seamlessly to

Part 3 to the music Gone With the Wind by L'Orchestra Cinematique. Silver comet shells were followed by the sounds of a movie projector as a line of strobes lit up across ramp 3. Crossed ball candles then fired with shells of gold glitter comets above and opening fans of gold comets across ramp three below with fronts of small star mines in between. This theme continued until the music moved seamlessly to

Part 4 to the music Singin' In the Rain by the Gene Kelly. Strobing horsetail shells gave the impression of raindrops. This horsetail theme continued and was augmented by fronts of left and right angled mines of silver strobes as the horsetail shells continued, but now with silver comets, bringing the segment to a close as the music moved seamlessly to

Part 5 to the music Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (titoli) by the Ennio Morricone. Sequences of mines with fronts of mines of whistles were augmented by flame projectors on ramp 3. This formed the theme and repeated as the familiar music theme repeated. Shells of falling leaves then fired as bright star shots fired below. As the falling leaves shells continued, shells of crossettes fired above until the music seamlessly moved to

Part 6 to the music Bridge Over the River Kwai by L'Orchestra Cinematique. Very rhythmical interleaved mine fronts with angled star shots lefer and right were augmented by glitter comet shells above. This strong theme continued for some time and then shells of diadem comets with flights of pale gold comets from below as the mines continued, but in a different pattern until the end of the segment as the music moved seamlessly to

Part 7 to the music Main Theme / Murder (From "Psycho") by 100 Greatest Film Themes. Intersecting thick silver dripping comets on the hits of the music perfectly fit the theme. Flame projectors lit up across ramp three as the comets came to an end and the music moved to

Part 8 to the music Jaws by John Williams. Flash hits twinkled across ramp three between the familiar deep notes of the Jaws theme. Then large flame projects lit up with more flash hits between the bass notes. The flash hits continued and then large gold mines fired with volleys of shells above as the flash hits continued below. Sequenced mines fired left and right as the flashes continued with shells above. Next, multiple volleys of colour star shells with angled mines of strobes below. The shells and strobes continued as the music built suspense. Suddenly a the entire width of the lake burst with nautical mines of glitter, causing a WOW in my notes. More nauticals with shells of waving comets above. The nautical mines were perfectly synchronized to the hits in the music, eliciting more WOWs from your truly. Barrages of red crossette star shells then fired above and then more nauticals, even bigger this time with shells of bright green above. The segment came to a close with broad fans of gold strobe mines with a barrage of strobes above as a voice said "Houston, we have a problem" as the music transitioned to

Part 9 to the music Also Sprach Zarathustra (From "2001: A Space Odyssey") by Odyssey") City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Shells of serpents were followed by a line of flares across ramps 3 and 4. Bright flame projectors interleaved with the flares opened with the familiar opening notes of the 2001 theme. A massive semicircular burst of mines erupted from the top of ramp 4, eliciting another WOW in my notes, as the main chord resonated, with shells of crossettes above. Sequences of mines of strobes paraded across ramp three in time with the drums of the music as the flame projector theme returned. and a second wave of semicircular mine hits erupted from ramp 4, as anticipated. The strobe-mines-on-drums returned and fronts of comets now accented the chords firing in a broad fan, then straight up and then in fans. Barrages of kamuros then fired, rather too dim for the strident music at this point, with mines of charcoal comets below. The barrages of brighter gold kamuros continued, with charcoal comet mine, the segment coming to a close with a final burst of strobe mines in a semicircle from ramp 4. The audience cheered loudly during the pause before the next segment as a large strobe shell slowly faded out.

Part 10 to the music E. T. by John Williams. Candles of crossette stars were augmented by fans of pale stars and then shells of falling leaves in silver. This theme continued and then bright intersection fans of meteor comets and angled mines of strobes. The bright comets and mines continued and were augmented by colour ring shells above. This theme continued and became just ring shells with volley after volley. Then shells of rings with five pointed star patterns inside. These were followed by shells of pale gold falling leaves turning to bees. This theme continued and was augment by fans of silver dipping comet candles below. Then shells with pistils as the comet fans continued, the segment coming to a close with blue crossettes added into the mix.

Part 11 to the music Fantasia - The Sorceror's Apprentice by Jean Fournet & Radio Philharmonic Netherlands. Angled note sequenced charcoal comet mines fired in perfect synchronization to the music, with the initial rests between the notes adding to the perfection of the synchronization. Then a front of pairs of charcoal comet mines. The mine theme continued as gold horsetail shells fired above. Broad fans of purple star mines were then added below as the horsetails continued above. This theme continued and then the mines were replaced by mines of deep gold strobes as the gold horsetails continued. Then a move to gold strobing horsetail shells and then brighter silver horsetail strobes as the music moved to

Part 12 to the music Spider Pig by Hans Zimmer. Shells of pale crossette comets were augmented by brighter crossette comet shells. This theme continued with the segment coming to a close with crackling comet crossettes.

Part 13 to the music Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast) by Various Artists. Small fast candles of stars opened across ramp 3 and were intermingled with crossed mines of strobes. As the candles continued, shells of pale glitter comets above and fronts of crossed comet mines below on the notes. Then fans of star candles and flights of glitter comets with the same in shells above and then more strobing horsetails. This theme continued and the horsetails were replaced by shells of waving comets with shells of glitter comets above. Fronts of angled mines fired below as barrages of larges shells fired above and then burst after burst bright semicircular mines from ramp 4 as barrages of shells fired above. Broad fans of pale silver comets rose high into the air from the centre as barrages of glitter comet shells fired above with fronts of the same in mines below, a final burst of bright mines on ramp 4 and across ramp 3 bringing the segment to a close as a volley of glitter shells fired above. Cheers from the audience as "Play it Sam ..." was heard as music became

Part 14 to the music As Time Goes By by As Time Goes By. Gentle shells of go-getters went perfectly with the classic music. These were followed by horsetail shells in pale silver as star shells fired on the high notes above. A return to the go-getters followed by strobing horsetail shells. This theme continued to the end of the segment as the music from the next segment mixed in

Part 15 to the music Never an Absolution by James Horner. Bright gold charcoal mines with kamuro shells fired at one side. This serene theme continued and then was augmented by bombettes below with strobe shells above, the segment coming to a close with a criss-cross front of gold comets.

Part 16 to the music Mission Impossible by Musica Paradiso. A line of fire, in the form of short duration gerbs, shot across ramp 3 - perfectly forming the fuse in the opening scene to Mission Impossible, causing the audience to gasp in astonishment. A huge burst of nautical mines erupted from the lake with star mines behind causing yet another huge WOW in my notes. Fronts of star mines with crossed comet candles behind were augmented by star shells above. This theme continued and was augmented by shells of crossettes bringing the segment to a close as we heard "Bond, James Bond ..."

Part 17 to the music James Bond Theme (Moby's Re-Version) by Moby. Meteor and star candles opened up with shells of crossettes above. Then crossed meteor and electric comets below as barrage after barrage of photoflash shells fired above in red white and green, the segment coming to a close with a volley of large star shells and a final "Bond, James Bond".

Part 18 to the music Raiders of the Lost Ark by John Williams. Crossed meteor comet candles with star mines inbetween opened up this segment. This theme continued and was followed by strobing falling leaf shells. Then crossed charcoal comet candles and willow shells above intermixed with more photoflash shells. This theme continued and continued but with brighter willow shells as the charcoal comet candles and photoflash shells continued below. A move to gold willow shells with more photoflash, this theme continuing until the segment which ended with a flight of crossed silver dripping comets.

Part 19 to the music Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. Mines of serpents fired left and right and were followed by crossed star candles. Shells of glitter comets then fired above alternating with bright green shells. This theme continued, the music being thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, some of whom got up and danced. Candles of green crossette stars then came to life as the alternating glitter comet green shells continued above. The shells were then replaced by crossette shells with larger star shells above. Then meteor comet candles below with electric comet shells above and more crossettes. These were replaced by barrages of green shells as the candles continued with shells of bright green bees above and then barrages of shells with pistils, the segment coming to a close with volleys of comet shells.

Part 20 to the music Skull And Crossbones by Skull And Crossbones. Mines firing at the left and right and walking to the centre of ramp 3 and then out again were followed by fans of candles of comets with barrages of shells above. This theme was followed by a move to rising tail shells in pale kamuro with barrage after barrage. The size of the barrages increased, the shells becoming brighter gold and starting to fill the sky like a finale as the music moved seamlessly to

Part 21 to the music O Verona Choral by Craig Armstrong. Dim fans of charcoal comet candles were augmented by shells of pale silver dripping comets. Then barrages of colour shells started, first in green, then purple, the barrages getting larger and larger. Then dazzling green, filling the sky, the pace becoming fearsome with comet shells above (hard to see due to the bright shells below). The colour changed to red and the pace increased further as the WOWs started appearing in my notes. The pace was fearsome as there was a transition to dazzling silver with huge chest thumping salutes going off in the maelstrom, the finale coming to a final apotheosis with a front of dazzling mines on ramp 3 and in a semicircle on ramp 4, thunderous volley of titanium salutes and a large "THE END" lighting up in the centre as the audience jumped to their feat to scream their approval.

This was a fabulous display from the Portguese team causing me to write the most WOWs so far this year. Flawlessly executed with an extremely well executed sound track and almost perfect application of the fireworks to the music. The nautical mines in the Jaws scene were astounding as was the run of gerbs in the Mission Impossible segment. The semicircular structure of mines on the top of ramp 4 was used to good effect, perhaps it could have been used a little more, but it was certainly effective. The range of tempos from frantic to serene was just right and the fireworks always complemented the music. The finale was very well staged, the colour transitions adding to the drama. There were a couple of places where different products might have worked better - the dim candles in the finale were invisible and in the 2001 segment some brighter accents would have been more appropriate. I'm only making these small cricisms because everything else was so well designed and executed. Despite the huge shell count, there was never a feeling of being overwhelmed, except when it was necessary (such as the finale). As the competition currently stands, Luso is a certain Jupiter winner. This is the one to beat! The standing ovation the audience gave the team is certainly an indication of the popular perception of this fantastic display.


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