National Centre for the Performing Arts
National Centre for the Performing Arts is a dynamic new icon to the arts in the heart of old Beijing. The Centre's ultra-modern architecture is in sharp contrast to its neighbours, the Great Hall of the People, Tian'anmen Square and the ancient Forbidden City. However the National Centre for the Performing Arts is far more than a spectacular and futuristic building.
It is China's new face of performing arts. It is a stage for the world's greatest artists. It showcases China's burgeoning international stars and celebrates the creativity of its many ethnic cultures. Its location at No. 2 West Chang'an Avenue and its masterful, creative design are testament to the prestige China has placed on the performing arts. The Centre hosted its first official concert on December 22, 2007, signaling a coming of age for performance art in China. Three main performance venues, along with a host of resource facilities, are cunningly housed under the Centre's ellipsoid shell.
The 2,398-seat Opera House is the Centre's largest venue and boasts the most advanced staging equipment available. The Concert Hall, which can seat an audience of 2,019, was designed with superior acoustics. It hosts symphony orchestras and national music performances.
The 1,035-seat theatre is also equipped with hi-tech, theatrical staging and audio visual equipment. It mainly hosts traditional Chinese operas and modern dramas. The interior design of the main hall is as stunning as the building's architecture. Ten different coloured marbles from around China were used for the flooring. A huge floor and glass curtain ceiling bathes the interior in sunlight or reveals the city's lights at night. The interior walls are warmed by a massive lattice work of rich Brazilian rose wood. The main building, which has no doors, angles or beams, is surrounded by a small lake that compliments the tranquil nature of the structure, which changes its hue depending on how the sun shines. Visitors enter the grand hall via a stunning 80-meter-long corridor. Its glass ceiling glistens with the water from the pond above.
The National Centre for the Performing Arts also hosts a variety of Auxiliary Facilities and spaces that are dedicated for public use. Jointly known as the "The Fifth Space", they include the underwater corridor, an exhibition gallery and a resource centre along with souvenir shops and cafes.
Both inside and out, China's new National Centre for the Performing Arts is a must-see attraction. The Centre's surrounding Landscape, its gardens and trees, its lake and pedestrian-only paths are an invitation for a leisurely stroll around the arts facility. Don't forget your camera. The Centre is easily accessible through public transport. Ride subway Line One to Tian'anmen West station, take exit 'C' and you are there.