Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taichung mayor says opera house will open next year

Staff writer, with CNA

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday said that the municipality’s landmark opera house will not reopen to the public until a formal ceremony early next year.

Lin, who on Dec. 25 last year became Taichung’s first mayor from the Democratic Progressive Party in more than 13 years, said that the “trial” opening of the National Taichung Theater in November last year came before construction had been finished and the new government must rebuild parts of it in a process that could take up to six months.

“Disputes with contractors and even compensation payments have ensued” because of the rush to open the theater before the Nov. 29 elections last year, Lin said at a meeting on infrastructure projects.

The city is now stepping up construction, but to ensure quality and safety, final checks on all the work will not conclude until November, meaning an opening early next year, Lin said.

Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖), head of the Construction Bureau, said the new administration has discovered damage to the main halls, small auditoriums and outdoor areas of the landmark designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

Huang said that a large number of people toured the theater in November last year, but called it a “construction site” with “obvious public safety concerns” that should not have opened at all.

The first opera house built in downtown Taichung consists of a 2,014-seat main hall and two smaller auditoriums. The project took nearly five years to complete at a cost of NT$4.36 billion (US$141 million).

Taiwanese opera company Ming Hwa Yuan (明華園) gave a charity performance on Nov. 23 last year at the theater as part of an opening celebration, but the theater was closed on New Year’s Day by the new administration pending the additional work.

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