Beijing – Nicole Philipp

The National Center for the Performing Arts is pretty spectacular. The architecture alone is something to marvel, with its clean lines and beautiful earth tones.  (You'd think I was writing for Architectural Digest here, but it really is beautiful.)

It took awhile, but I was finally able to venture into the front of house.  As impressed as I was by the concert hall, I was that much more impressed by the main lobby.  By my count, there were at least four stories of various rooms, shops, collections of art, and concert halls.  Not to mention the number of floors beneath the halls that hold dressing rooms and practice spaces. There are four concert halls total.  Nearest to the hall where the PSO is performing is the opera hall. 

When we arrived for the first concert in Beijing, there was a production taking place within the opera hall.  There are a number of flat screen television monitors around the backstage area.  These monitors allowed us to watch portions of the opera with it's brightly colored sets and costumes. The backstage area between the two halls is so large, that even though there were many opera performers, there was very little, if any, overlap between our two groups. I saw one or two singers, but mostly as they were standing in a shared hallway.  I mention this because I don't know that I can quite convey the size of The Egg without literally taking a video camera, and walking room by room.  I'm sure you can imagine that with all this space, and a language barrier, if you venture too far, it's easy to get lost.  One thing that does help, however, is an ATM like machine that sits in the hallway backstage.  The touch screen has both Chinese characters and English.

Both concerts at The Egg were well received, with Honeck leading the Orchestra in two encores both nights.  Orion Weiss also played an encore after his performance of Beethoven's Piano Concert No. 5 during the second concert.  Today, we landed in Shanghai.  The first major difference is the weather.  Shanghai, at least today, is much warmer and far more humid.  Tonight's concert, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center is SOLD OUT and has been for two weeks! 

So, I've been experiencing some technical difficulties, which is why there haven't been photos in the last few posts.  I'm hoping to get this issue sorted out tonight, and have photos of both concert halls, the "ATM" I mention earlier, and some other fun shots posted soon.

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May 16