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Awards

Important awards of the event industry are presented in festive evening events during Prolight + Sound.

Opus - German Stage Award 2024 and Special Opus AVantgarde Award 

The Opus - German Stage Award 2024 honours two projects that address people as individuals in very different ways: The Grand Show "FALLING | IN LOVE" at Friedrichstadt-Palast, the winner of the "Opus - German Stage Award 2024" stages the story of a deaf poet in search of love as a breathtaking, innovative play of colours - curated and visually designed by designer icon Jean Paul Gaultier. The special "Opus AVantgarde" prize goes to the Ensemble Modern at the cresc Biennale 2023, which uses a walk-in sound body to focus on the individual in relation to the community.

Applaus

The award ceremony will take place on 21 March in the festive setting of a gala event at Prolight + Sound (by invitation only).

Dancers on a stage

The "Opus - German Stage Prize" honours productions that have created special visitor experiences with innovative use of event technology. The Opus has been awarding prizes to outstanding personalities and projects since 1995. The focus is on the technical implementation of theatre and musical productions, concerts and tours as well as corporate events.

Opus prize winner 2024

FALLING | IN LOVE. Photo: Ralph Larmann
FALLING | IN LOVE. Photo: Ralph Larmann

FALLING | IN LOVE is a superlative project in every respect:

With a production budget of 14 million euros, over 100 artists from 28 nations transform the stage into a glittering sea of colours, shapes, costumes and effects, supported by technically innovative installations.

In an exclusive collaboration with Swarovski, 100 million Swarovski crystals bathe the scenery in a sparkling light - an impressive world record in the film and stage industry. Among them is the world's largest cut Swarovski crystal, which weighs an impressive 180kg.

As visual design director, star designer Jean Paul Gaultier realised his aesthetic vision not only in the costumes but also in the stage design. As curator of the show, he also brought up-and-coming design teams on board. These include artists Hannah Rose and Steven Raj from Fecal Matter, who challenge gender boundaries and beauty ideals with their unique vision of beauty and reality. Sasha Frolova, a performance artist specialising in latex, completes the team with her striking aesthetic.

At the centre of the story is You, a young, deaf poet full of passion and longing. The artist does not fit into any mould and feels misunderstood. His search for love repeatedly ends in rejection. In these moments, You wishes he could just sink into the ground. But then the grey asphalt of civilisation breaks beneath his feet and he plunges into another reality. In this hidden garden of love, a world reveals itself to him that he has never seen before - a surging sea of colour and beauty, a diversity that encompasses all facets of nature. Here lives the eternal human dream of a better world, enclosed under traditional norms. The focus is on the question of whether You will ultimately find the words to shatter the man-made walls and allow love to blossom.

For the first time, the Friedrichstadt-Palast has engaged leading actors with disabilities in the form of the deaf dancers Callum Webdale and Hearns Sebuado, who alternately embody the protagonist You. In order to provide Webdale and Sebuado with the best possible basis for their performances, a vibration plate was built into the stage floor. This allows the two of them to orientate themselves to the sound waves of the music during their solo moments. In addition, all texts were translated for them by sign language interpreters and their dressing rooms were equipped with light signals, as they are unable to recognise the usual bell signals.

The spectacular stage production also fascinates with technically impressive installations such as movable lifting platforms in a water basin, water effects, mirror zones and an impressive rain curtain. The audiovisual experience is enhanced by an immersive 360° sound system and impressive lighting with250 LED spotlights, 129 conventional spotlights and 347 moving lights.

The idea for the project came from artistic director and producer Berndt Schmidt, inspired by the poem "The Garden of Love" by the English poet William Blake (1757-1827). It was written and directed by Oliver Hoppmann, one of Europe's most successful show creators.

Ensemble Modern. Photo: Chris Moylan
Ensemble Modern. Photo: Chris Moylan

This year's special "Opus AVantgarde" award goes to the renowned Ensemble Modern for its "walk-in sound body" at the "cresc - Biennale für aktuelle Musik" in Frankfurt.

Immediately after the live performance, the audience was able to experience the work "Earth Dances" (by Sir Harrison Birtwistle) staged jointly by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Modern in the form of a completely new walk-in sound body.

Sound designer and sound director Norbert Ommer relied on innovative technologies. The sounds recorded by the orchestra were transferred into a 3D audio installation that allowed the audience to move freely within the orchestra's sound body. The playback was linear and was mixed live by Ommer via a d&b Soundscape system in three dimensions and transmitted into the room.

The technology used included 44 loudspeaker components, supported by 8 subwoofers on different levels. These were arranged on the floor, at a height of 5 metres and in a ring below the studio ceiling.

A particular highlight was the programmed rotation of the entire orchestra by up to 180 degrees as well as the movement of vocal instruments within the sound body. The technical implementation was realised in collaboration with renowned companies such as Crystal Sound.

The result was a fascinating musical exploration, made possible by a technologically innovative concept that expanded the boundaries of the conventional concert experience and transported the audience into a new dimension of contemporary music.

The Ensemble Modern, an international ensemble, is one of the world's best-known leading ensembles for modern music and performs at renowned festivals around the globe. Founded in 1980 and based in Frankfurt am Main, 18 international soloists currently shape the activities of this democratically organised ensemble. Ensemble Modern's aesthetic spectrum encompasses music and dance theatre genres, multimedia forms as well as chamber music, ensemble and orchestral concerts. The "cresc" festival is organised by Ensemble Modern in collaboration with the hr-Sinfonieorchester. Under the title "MeWe", musical formations explored the relationship between the individual and the community in a variety of contemporary music in 2023.

Sinus – Systems Integration Award 2023

Dome in the dark
Photo: Sphere Entertainment

The Sinus honours outstandingly creative and artistic achievements and solutions with respect to the use of technology in audio-visual installations. The award has been given annually at Prolight + Sound since 2004. The jury and the trustees of the award comprise representatives of the German Media and Event Technology Association (VPLT), the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and other experts from the sector, as well as representatives of the trade press and Messe Frankfurt.

With its spectacular fusion of ground-breaking technologies, Sphere creates innovative, immersive experiences of unrivalled brilliance - and sets a decisive impulse for the future of entertainment.  The event medium has been honoured with the Sinus - Systems Integration Award 2024.       

The key data and figures already give an idea of the dimensions of this mega project: At 112 metres high and 157 metres wide, it is the largest spherical structure in the world. A 54,000 m², fully programmable outdoor area, known as the Exosphere, equipped with 1.2 million LED pucks. The world's largest and highest-resolution LED screen. Inside, a 15,000 m² LED display with a resolution of 16k x 16k offers impressive experiences for 17,600 people (20,000 with standing room).

Sinus winner 2024 "Sphere" in Las Vegas

Dome in front of houses
Photo: Sphere Entertainment

What makes Sphere so unique is not primarily the numerical superlatives - it is the harmonious interplay of the countless technical components.

For example, an essential element of the spherical construction is concealed behind the LED screen inside, which is around 195 metres wide and 76 metres high: Its impressive audio system Sphere Immersive Sound powered by HOLOPLOT, which was specially developed for the curved interior. The revolutionary X1 Matrix Array audio system is integrated into 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile speaker modules, combined with a total of 167,000 individually amplified speaker drivers. The underlying 3D audio beamforming and wave field synthesis technology enables controlled, crystal-clear sound for up to 20,000 people, offering each guest a personalised listening experience.

The seamless interaction of the Sphere Immersive Sound and curved LED interior display is complemented by 4D technologies such as haptic seats and a range of atmospheric environmental effects - including gusts of wind, changing temperatures, cold breezes and evocative scents. This creates multi-sensory, immersive experiences in a class of their own.         

Thanks to the outstanding combination of artistic ambition and innovative technical realisation, Sphere fulfils the requirements for winning the "Sinus" in a special way. With its unique technical possibilities, it is the ideal venue for a wide variety of entertainment formats, from live concerts and sporting events to high-resolution film experiences and much more.

A prime example of modern system integration at the very highest level.

At Prolight + Sound (Main Stage, 21 March, 13 hrs ), Michael Kastner, Head of Product at HOLOPLOT, will provide insights into how the HOLOPLOT X1 Matrix Array delivers powerful, clear and flexible sound at the Sphere in Las Vegas.