Miami's Carnival Center Begins Opening Celebrations

Classic Arts News   Miami's Carnival Center Begins Opening Celebrations
The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, Miami's brand-new $450 million complex — designed by star architect Cesar Pelli and housing a 2,400-seat opera/ballet house, a 2,200-seat concert hall and a 200-seat playhouse — launches three days of inaugural celebrations tonight.

At 6 pm the bells of neighboring Trinity Episcopal Cathedral will ring to herald the Carnival Center's opening; shortly afterwards, a fireworks display accompanied by 12 local percussion ensembles will take place on the Carnival Center's Plaza. At 8:30 pm, Quincy Jones will host a gala opening concert with performances by Gloria Estefan, Bernadette Peters, Jos_ Carreras, Albita, Carlos Vives and Alejandro Sanz, Arturo Sandoval, Cachao and Andy Garcia.

Tomorrow night at 8 pm in the Knight Concert Hall, Michael Tilson Thomas will lead the New World Symphony (one of the center's resident companies) in the world premiere of Turn the Key by American composer Stephen Mackey and the finale to Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3.

On Saturday (October 7), the action moves to the Ziff Ballet Opera House for Act II of Puccini's La Bohme with the Florida Grand Opera and Miami City Ballet's staging of the final act of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty. There will also be Broadway-style entertainment, provided by Harvey Fierstein.

Night owls can then head to the Peacock Rehearsal Studio, where DJ Irie wll spin until 3 am.

The festivities wrap up on Sunday (October 8) with the all-day event Globalbeat, featuring performances of gospel, reggae, rumba, cumbia, calypso, samba and hip-hop by local musicians. There will also be a parade of costumed revelers in streets near the Carnival Center.

Formerly called the Miami Performing Arts center, the new complex was renamed the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts this summer following a $10 million donation from Carnival Cruise Lines.

James S. Russell, the architecture critic for Bloomberg News, writes that "from the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay the silhouette of Miami's brand-new Carnival Center briefly suggests the Sydney Opera House. But while Jêªrn Utzon's masterpiece catches the purple sunsets of Sydney Harbor on its billowing white-tiled flanks, Carnival's gray granite reads like mashed potatoes whipped into runny peaks."

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