Som I Himlen at the Royal Opera in Copenhagen (photo: Camilla Winther)
Denmark - Lighting designer Mikael Kratt was among the first visiting creatives to use the Royal Danish Opera’s new Robe Forte moving lights in a recent production at the Copenhagen Opera House.
This was for Som I Himlen (As It Is in Heaven) a lively and heartwarming musical adaptation directed by Edward af Sillén of a 2004 Swedish movie telling the story of a famous conductor who returns to his small Swedish hometown in the North of the country to retire and is asked to help with mentoring the school choir.
It was Mikael’s first time using Fortes, 80 of which arrived at the Copenhagen Opera House in summer via Robe’s Danish distributor Light Partner. The package features 32 x Forte Profiles, 34 x Forte Fresnels, four Forte FSs (follow spots) and 10 x iFortes, all part of a technical upgrade that was installed just in time for the restart of the high-profile venue’s winter programme.
Som I Himlen is a co-production with Malmo Opera and was first produced there in 2021. Mikael has worked with the director Edward before and was asked to collaborate on this production by him.
There were no Robe moving lights involved in that production as Mikael utilised Malmo Opera’s repertory rig. The entire creative team from the popular Malmo show helped to deliver the production in Copenhagen.
With many intimate moments in the show, the set, designed by Kim Witzel, was pushed as far downstage and as close to the audience possible, where there were fewer rigging points for lights, and the orchestra - who figures prominently in the narrative - was upstage on a podium.
This was slightly tricky to manage in terms of lighting coverage, but with the Fortes in the rig, Mikael was able to light the action both efficiently and elegantly using both the profile and Fresnel versions of Forte.
“The punch is great as is the quality of light,” he stated, explaining that the show is a pacy mix of classic musical production numbers and operatic drama for which the general style of lighting is realistic and lifelike. “We wanted to present a series of relatable scenarios for the audience, as the story is about everyday people dealing with normal situations that can have a dramatic impact on their lives.”
Much of the set was woody in colour and texture, so he also wanted to retain this natural warmth and emphasise the subtleties of different seasons and times of the day with lighting.
Fifty-seven Fortes are used in total for Som I Himlen, all rigged on house bars in the top rig lighting above the stage and the orchestra, with a couple more behind the scrim in front of the orchestra riser, which flies out to reveal the orchestra - and the full lighting rig in a spectacular moment - towards the conclusion of the story.
“Overall, working with these Fortes made a massive difference to the scope and latitude I had to light the show and the detail that could be added,” he stated, saying that the colour rendition is “beautiful” all the way from the subtle pastels and intricate cold areas of the spectrum to the deep, rich blues and reds which were “gorgeous”.
Four of the Opera House’s LEDBeam 150s were used for side-fill light, rigged at low FOH positions, and these were cloned from Source Fours on the Malmo plot.
Mikael has used LEDBeam 150s as side lighting before as the dimming, zoom and colours are “all great”, and has eight on another show, Änglagård (House of Angels), which is also based on a Swedish cult movie and is running to sold-out houses in Stockholm, and he spec’d 16 for Tootsie last year - running at the same theatre, Oscarsteatern, where they were used as front and effects lights.
Mikael concluded: “It was great coming to the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, I had a terrific time. It was a delight working with Sune and his team of skilled lighting technicians and also my lead programmer Mikkel Bedsted who did a fantastic job. I had a total blast revisiting this musical once again and everything fell into place enabling us to create a production of which we are all very proud.”

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