Thu, Oct 18, 2018 - Page 13 News List

A crowning jewel for southern Taiwan

The Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, designed by Dutch architect Francine Houben, is a glorious mix of shapely curves, broad expanses and state-of-the-art concert, theater and construction technology

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Houben said her philosophy is that architecture should touch all five senses, and she certainly has achieved that with Weiwuying, which is likely to become one of her most iconic projects, and the flagship cultural destination she said she aimed to deliver.

From the building’s aluminum skin created by Kaohsiung shipbuilders, to the vineyard design of the 2,000 seat Concert Hall, with its massive 9,085 pipe organ, divided like two stands of bamboo, to the rolling waves of the walkways and fabric designs and ceilings, the center invites people to explore and enjoy.

In addition to the Concert Hall, there is a 2,260 seat Opera House, a Playhouse that can seat between 1,094 and 1,254 people, a 470 seat Recital Hall and an outdoor performance space facing the park, which means up to 20,000 people could see a show there at one time.

There are also several places to eat and shop, including Milieu Tea House, Perfume Dance restaurant, Stage5 Bistro and the X Simtree Cafe.

Weiwuying is now the third branch of the National Performing Arts Center, after the NTCH and the National Taichung Theater.

For its opening season, which runs through the end of this year, the center has put together a program of theater, dance, music and circus arts that features more than 70 performances and 171 artists and groups from around Taiwan and the world.

They had their first sold-out show on Sunday, with a concert by Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna, with the tickets selling within a few days. She played the organ during the official opening ceremony on Saturday and the sound produced by the massive pipes was stirring.

Highlights of the next two-and-a-half months include the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariss Jansons & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, La Fura Dels Baus production The Creation, Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide, two Taiwanese and Kunqu opera productions, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s 45th Anniversary Gala Program, SMAP X SMAP by Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group (莎士比亞的妹妹們的劇團), Robert Lepage’s 887, MUMMENSCHANZ’s You & Me and Paradise Interrupted, Weiwuying’s first international co-commissioned opera with Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA and Singapore International Festival of Arts..

The Weiwuying Opening Season offers a special ticket combo of 20 percent off purchases of NT$500 and above with at least one show per month from now until December; however the offer is only available until Oct. 31.

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