Lang Lang, Repin, Battle, Ozawa to Play New Year's at Beijing's New Concert Hall

Classic Arts News   Lang Lang, Repin, Battle, Ozawa to Play New Year's at Beijing's New Concert Hall
China's National Center for the Performing Arts, one of the most glittering of the major building projects springing up in the Chinese capital, will ring in 2008 with a star-studded classical program on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The performances, which will be the "first international concert[s]" at the newly-completed venue (as a press release puts it), will feature Russian violin virtuoso Vadim Repin, veteran lyric soprano Kathleen Battle, and piano superstar Lang Lang, probably the most famous Chinese-born classical musician now active. Seiji Ozawa, currently music director of the Vienna State Opera and longtime music director of the Boston Symphony, will conduct the China National Symphony Orchestra.

The three-theater complex — previously referred to in English as the New National Theater and popularly nicknamed "The Egg" — was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Built at a cost of about 2.7 billion yuan (currently about €250 million or US$364 million), it includes a 2,416-seat opera/ballet house, a 2,017-seat concert hall and a 1,040-seat theatre. Surrounding the building is a shallow artificial lake and a municipal park.

The new National Center opened in late September with a series of trial performances for selected dignitaries and invited guests (including local residents whose homes had been razed to make room for the complex). The first singer to perform an aria there was President Jiang Zemin himself (during a daytime pre-opening visit); the first work presented was the ballet The Red Detachment of Women, one of the best-known artifacts of the Cultural Revolution and the dance work referenced in the John Adams opera Nixon in China.

Public performances at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing begin on December 22.

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