National Center for the Performance Arts

The newly opened National Center for the Performance Arts, formerly named the Chinese National Grand Theatre, is the largest performing art center in the world. It is shaped like a massive, silvery dome in the heart of China’s capital that offers Chinese and international art performances of the highest standards. It hosts opera, ballet, musicals, dance, dramas and traditional Chinese performances.

Situated west of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the National Center for Performance Art occupies an area of over 149,500 square meters. There are three gigantic halls located inside: a 2,416-seat opera house, a 2,017-seat concert hall and a 1,040-seat theater. Its goal is to become the center of Chinese performance art culture. The National Center for the Performing Arts took nearly five years to build at a cost of over 2.69million RMB.

Designed by the famous French architect Paul Andreu, this imposing building is a fine example of modern architecture. It has been thought of as resembling an eggshell, a baozi (Chinese steamed bread), or even a giant bubble. The National Center for Performance Arts has been listed among the top ten architectural miracles by the USA, for its energy-saving and environmentally-sound design. The center has three firsts: it is the largest sky dome in the world, the deepest building in Beijing, and is home to the largest pine organ in Asia. As its prompters have said, the National Center for Performance Arts has a lush dazzling interior, sophisticated acoustics and a design that that is superior to most of Europe’s or America’s performing arts centers. This building is so unique that it stands out amongst the nearby government buildings in central Beijing and the imperial grandeur of the centuries-old Forbidden City.

The interior design of National Center for Performance Arts, it is quite spectacular. The dome’s interior is paneled with long Brazilian mahogany spans, giving the expanse an amazingly warm feeling. While the walls of the theater, the smallest of the performance spaces, are covered in thick padded silk which is divided into red, purple and tangerine strips. The ceiling of the grey-white color-schemed concert hall consists of undulating waves of acoustical panels that resemble abstract art. On the exterior shell of the center, there are over 500 lights that shine like the stars in the sky, making the National Center for Performance Arts looks like a visitor from the outer space.

Even though the exterior appearance of National Centre for Performance Arts is futuristic in design, it does not clash with nearby buildings. Surrounded on one side by a large pool of water, the reflections in the water form an impressive sight day or night. For this reason, National Centre for Performance Arts is said to appear like a “bright pearl resting in a lake.

Most visitors to the National Center for Performance Arts, come for the performances, but there is much more to this beautiful building than just the three gigantic halls. There are also many smaller places located inside the National Center for Performance Arts such as: an underwater hallway, an exhibition hall, olive hall, library center, Press-release hall, souvenir shop, and a coffee house. In these locations, visitors or audience members can enjoy other aspects of this amazing building other than just performances.

The Center’s management has hired the best performers from throughout China to perform. Musicians such as pianist Yundi Li, and Lang Lang are regulars to the National Center for Performance Arts’stage. Many foreign troupes are vying for a chance to perform during the center’s opening season. The first foreign troupe to perform on the stage of the National Center for Performance Art was the Mariinsky Ballet Troup of St. Petersburg(still marketed in the U.S. under its Soviet-era name, the Kirov Opera and Ballet). Although the center’s musical groups,ballets, symphony orchestras, and Chinese opera have received far less attention, they are also performed by some of the best artists in China.

To allow each audience to fully and comfortably appreciate each performance, the National Center for Performance Arts has makes great effort in its design of the opera house, concert hall and theater. The materials used in the construction of the opera house were chosen for their ability to control sound. The ceiling of the concert hall is designed so that each audience member will enjoy an unforgettable experience. The theatre, the place with the most distinctive Chinese characteristic, has the most advanced stage facilities and the largest auditorium. Each seat in the National Center for Performance Arts is placed over an air vent which will allow each audience member to enjoy perfectly controlled temperatures, and each seat is designed with a muffling devise so that no sound will be made when audience members stand up,or sit down. These many different features of the center has been put in place to insure each audience member will receive the most from each performance they see.

Even if visitors to Beijing have no interest in watching a performance at the National Centre for Performance Arts, a visit to the center will leave a deep impression on them. It is one of the most brilliant architectural designs in the world, and worth a visit.

Where to See Great Art in Cambridge and Boston!

Whether you are just a visitor to the greater Boston area, or a permanent resident of Cambridge or Boston, checking out the art scene here is one thing that you don’t want to miss. Just look at Cambridge’s historical universities, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the colonial Old State House; the city itself is a work of art.

There are many different ways that you can view and experience art as a visitor to the city, or if you are just a resident with a free Sunday afternoon. There are tons of public art works throughout Cambridge and Boston available for your viewing pleasure at any time of day. The Cambridge Arts Council and the Boston Art Commission both list hundreds of permanent and temporary works around Boston and Cambridge, dating back to 1867. These statues, mosaics, murals, and sculptures are plentiful throughout the cities, and if you have the time to wander among these treats for the eye, you will not be disappointed.

If are looking to see lots of art in a short amount of time, a museum or gallery is where you want to go. The Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Harvard Art Museum are usually the favorites for visitors to the Boston area. Tickets to these museums are usually pretty pricey, but there are ways around admission prices. If you have a library card in the Boston or Cambridge area (this includes many towns surrounding Cambridge), you can reserve museum passes ahead of time to secure free or cheap admission for you and your family or friends. The Institute of Contemporary Art is free every Thursday from five to nine p.m., and the Museum of Fine Arts has at least one free admission day annually. Galleries are also abundant, and can be a more cost effective way to see many works in one space. Almost all have free admission, but you usually won’t be able to spend a whole day in a gallery like you would in a museum.

The most interactive, exciting, and entertaining way to view art is through a festival. What is nicer than letting your kids roam free, eating a hot dog (or for the more adventurous types, perhaps something delectable from the wide selection of international fare), breathing fresh air, and viewing beautiful art? The Cambridge River Festival is held in early June along a mile long stretch of the scenic Charles River; with visual, performing, and interactive art all available to the public for free, this event has an annual attendance of over 200,000 people. The Boston Arts Festival is held for three days in September, features over seventy Boston-based artists, and has a performance program on two stages showcasing the best performing arts groups and performers in Boston.