Robert Juliat at New Wexford Opera House, Ireland
Robert Juliat has supplied a substantial quantity of its 1K and 1.2K Fresnels and PC fixtures to Ireland's first custom-built opera house.
Wexford Opera House, in South East Ireland, is a state-of-the-art venue concealed behind a reinstated street front in the town's main street.
Occupying 4.5 times the space of the old opera house, Wexford Opera House is a new multi-purpose performance space capable of offering a varied, year-round program of opera, theatre and dance.
The specification of Robert Juliat lanterns had been on the cards with the Opera House's design team since the initial conception in 2005. Among this team was the theatre consultant firm, Carr & Angier, which was involved throughout in the design of both the main 771-seat -- expanding to 855-seat -- John and Aileen O'Reilly Theatre and the smaller 176-seat studio space, the Jerome Hynes Theatre.
Carr & Angier was also ultimately responsible for specifying the loose equipment for the staging, sound, and lighting systems on this £25.6m project, including the Robert Juliat fixtures. Carr & Angier's Paul Franklin, says: "We needed to devise an equipment list which would form a good compromise between the Wexford Festival Opera's wish list and what would work well for the varied program of events throughout the rest of the year. Our initial specifications, which included Robert Juliat 1K fresnels and 2K PCs, were subjected to much discussion from the Opera House technical staff.
"Despite financial pressure to downgrade to a lower-quality option, the decision to retain the Robert Juliat component came very strongly from both the Opera House technical team and from Festival lighting designer, Paul Keogan. The high standards demanded by each meant that compromise was never an option."
The result was the installation of 30 Robert Juliat Lutin 1K Fresnels with additional, interchangeable, PC lens with a versatility to match that of the studio theatre, 24 Robert Juliat 310HF 1.2K Fresnels, and 12 Robert Juliat 329HPC 2K PC fixtures which are often used in larger scale venues for their even beam and high light output. All were fitted with the unique Robert Juliat barndoor with individually rotating leaves.
The installation was carried out by Northern Light under the project management of Simon Cooper, Northern Light's head of projects. "Northern Light were responsible for the full technical installation of production sound, lighting and communications in Wexford Opera House," says Cooper. "As part of that remit, we installed a total of 66 Robert Juliat Fresnels on the direct instruction of our client -- all of which were included in the initial specification.
"Personally, I find that Robert Juliat products represent excellent value for money and are well-designed, with very good optics."
So far in its Winter 2008 season, Wexford Opera House has played host to local, national, and international artists including the Russian Chamber Orchestra, Dance Theatre Ireland, and NOW Dance Company (Korea) and the Second Age Theatre Company, in addition to its role as the venue for the Annual Wexford Festival Opera, now in its 57th year.
Paul Hennessy, the chairman of the Wexford Festival Trust, said: "We are delighted to finally have a world-class facility appropriate to the international reputation of our festival. We can now raise our artistic ambitions to further enhance the renown of our festival and to distinguish this venue as a place of excellence for the performing arts in Ireland."