The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) is the trademark opera house of Beijing, China. The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) is also called the National Grand Theatre or more colloquially ‘The Giant Egg’. It’s a beautiful specimen of fine modern architecture. It hosts three performance halls, namely: The Opera Hall, The Music Hall and the Theatre Hall. The mammoth opera house had a construction cost of about 300 Million Euros. The construction of this structure began in December 2001 and the project was completed in July 2007, it became open to the public in December 2008. According to stated facts, the whole theatre has around 5473 seats which are divided in the three halls.
The beautiful National Grand Theatre has an ellipsoid shape, which is not only quite stunning to the eye but is also an engineering marvel in itself. The whole structure is made of titanium and glass. The structure is surrounded by an artificial lake. The total area covered by the National Centre for the Performing Arts is around 219, 400 meter square. The height of the theatre is about 46. 28 m. The architect of the National Centre for the Performing Arts is Paul Andreu. The shape of the theatre is such that it resembles a giant egg cut in half.
Controversy of Location
The location of the Theatre is such that it is located to the west of Tiananmen Square and ’The Great Hall of the People’, also it is situated fairly near to the Forbidden City. On top of that, the theatre boasts of a very modern architectural style. All these factors put together, created some amount of controversy when the theatre came up. The architect, Paul Andreu then said that even though Beijing is proud of its rich cultural heritage in the form of ancient traditional Chinese architecture, the city should also include some buildings of modern architecture as Beijing is a global city and the capital as well. The whole theatre was made in such a manner that the surroundings of the theatre compliment the adjacent ‘The Great Hall of the People” rather than opposing it.
The opera house is located at the middle of the National Centre for the Performing Arts. There are exactly 2,398 seats in the opera house. The beautiful golden lighting, large seating capacity and flexible positioning of the stage, all make the opera house a wonder venue for hosting large scale dance and opera performances. By the looks of it, the Opera house can be undoubtedly called the best part of the NCPA.
Concert (Music) Hall
To the east of the opera house, one can witness the magnificent concert hall which is also called the music hall. The silver – white color perfectly gives a very soothing and calm presence. The stage is situated right at the center of all the seats, this benefits the viewers as they can enjoy the performances by virtually sitting anywhere in the hall. Roughly 2000 people can be seated in this majestic hall. The structure of the hall was built while keeping both the musical and architectural aspects in mind. The hall boasts of having the largest pipe organ in Asia. The mammoth pipe organ has 94 stops and about 6500 pipes, making it one of the most impressive pipe organs.
The theatre hall is primarily used for staging the very popular Beijing opera but is also used for staging plays and dance performances. The theatre, like the other two halls is yet another beautifully painted specimen of perfection. The colors are soothing and very pleasing to the eyes. The theatre is quite large and can have around 1, 040 people seated at a given point of time.
Other Parts of the NCPA
Apart from the three major performance halls which have been listed above, the NCPA, Beijing also has another hall which is the multi-functional hall which is situated in the south of the NCPA. The hall has a seating capacity of around 140.
This hall acts as the gateway or the entrance for the three major performance halls of the NCPA.
80 – Meter corridor
The beautiful NCPA also has an underwater corridor which is 80 meters in length and connects the north entrance to the olive hall which is situated in the main building.
Tickets and Visiting Time
A majority of the tickets are sold at a fairly reasonable price for the general public. The box office where the tickets are sold is situated at the north entrance of the theatre and is open between 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day. If you ever plan on visiting this amazing theatre, do take note that the theatre will not be open on Monday for the general public. As Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City are closely located to the NCPA, it is a good idea to visit these attractions along with this wonderful theatre. It is suggested that properly exploring the theatre would take somewhere between 2 to 3 hours, so plan your trip accordingly and be ready to witness some amazing modern Chinese architecture.