The 1,953-seat Shanghai Oriental Arts Center is the first permanent home for the 125-year-old Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the first dedicated concert hall in Shanghai.
Designed by French architect Paul Andrea‹who also designed the opera house currently under construction in Beijing‹the hall is variously described as resembling a butterfly and an orchid, with five segments containing the main entrance, the concert hall, a 1,020-seat opera house, a 333-seat auditorium, and an exhibition space. At night, lights on the roof will change color in coordination with the music inside.
The Shanghai city government and the Pudong district government have selected two private companies to run the center, an unprecedented arrangement for China, where government usually runs major cultural facilities.
The Shanghai Symphony plans to perform at the center each weekend. "We will make Saturday, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Oriental Arts Center...a musical habit for theatergoers," said Chen Guangxian, the orchestra's general manager. "In the past we had to move around Shanghai's unsuitable halls, both big and small, to perform. Now we finally have a home."