Manfred Nikitser meets complex lighting challenges with impression X5, impression S350, impression FR10 Bar and FUSION X-PAR 12 Z.

The Amadeus Austrian Music Awards were presented for the 23rd time recently. The ceremony took place in the historic Volkstheater in Vienna, which, with its lavish interior, offered a wonderful setting for both the live and TV audience. However, it was precisely this historical backdrop that presented lighting designer Manfred Nikitser and his team with a number of technical lighting challenges. FUSION X-PAR 12 Z, impression S350, impression X5 and impression FR10 Bars from GLP helped them to do justice to the special features of the location and the staging itself.

Nikitser, who has Amadeus experience both as a designer and as lighting director, was entrusted with the task of creating the lighting design for the awards ceremony and the numerous show acts for the second time in a row. Together with director Lukas Dudzik from betterimages, he also created the entire production design.

“We used Vienna’s oldest backdrop as a stage design, modernised it a bit and provided it with an entrance tunnel typical of award shows,” says Nikitser. “The design, which we largely adopted from the previous year, is a mixture of a classic-historical and LED-heavy modern look.”

The award ceremony itself takes place in a classic stage set-up. In the background there is a small show stage for the acts; however, one problem with such a format is that there are hardly any hanging points available.

At this year’s show, 40 FUSION X-PAR 12 Z played a key role in the concept, as they could be easily installed in all kinds of places with the help of pipes – on the one hand to create the classic TV spotlight and on the other hand to give the room depth. The compact LED PARs are used both in the award area and in the hall on two levels, where they serve as creative ambient lighting and functional public lighting.

“Initially I thought of a classic LED PAR for this purpose,” states Nikitser. “However, thanks to the 190mm front lens, the FUSION X-PAR 12 Z is visually better perceived and creates more presence in the overall picture. That’s why I chose it.”

The use of 12 GLP impression S350 Spot and two S350 Wash was also recommended due to the critical hanging point situation. Nikitser chose the spots as a front light for the audience: “Here I needed a spotlight that was as compact, light and elegant as possible because the lamps had to be visible in the camera image. I also wanted aperture sliders and a quality of light suitable for TV. I’m a fan of the S350 in general, and in this application, they hit the spot once again.”

The production designers attached great importance to capturing the special atmosphere of the Viennese Volkstheater as far as possible for the TV cameras, and consequently to depict the wonderful hall with its balconies. At the same time, many music celebrities attend the Amadeus, so it is always important to stage the live show and the artists who are performing in a way that is accessible to the audience. In this sense, each performance warranted its own lighting design.

The show stage itself was surrounded by a large LED banner. Among other items, 26 GLP impression X5 washlights provided the lighting. “We chose the X5 for the show area because we needed a spotlight with a clear beam structure despite the surrounding LED band. Of course, the X5’s very high-quality lighting doesn’t hurt either,” the designer laughs. With two additional impression X5s, Nikitser was able to paint the ceiling in the hall in an appealing way for the cameras.

Finally, 18 JDC1 placed on the ground provided an additional layer of effects.

In order to maintain dynamics between the show acts despite the limited space, the production team again used a moving platform that had been developed for the Amadeus 2022.

“This ‘flying carpet’ enabled us to bring the performance from the back of the stage to the front, very close to the audience and then very quickly return to the award situation,” explains Nikitser.

Six GLP impression FR10 Bars completed the optical array at the front edge of the ‘flying carpet’. “Thanks to the large lenses and the consequent very strong visual presence – as well as their continuous line characteristic – the FR10 Bars are perfect on the roller platform,” Nikitser continues.

All in all, reaching into the GLP portfolio helped to overcome a number of hurdles on this project, as Nikitser explains: “It’s not just about the devices, which in terms of form factor, output and light quality fitted perfectly into this scenario. Due to the ongoing theatre operations, the schedule for this production is always very tight, so it is a challenge to implement the show really well in the short time. This requires good preparation, strong partners and reliable technology. At this point many thanks to Oliver Schwendke at GLP, who always pulls out all the stops to support us. At GLP, I know from experience that I will not have any unpleasant surprises with the lighting – and that helps a lot!”

Photo credit: Nikolaus Ostermann.


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