Audio Slideshow: China's New Concert Halls

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guangzhou Opera House Guangzhou Opera House (© virgile simon bertrand/zaha hadid architects)

In the last two decades, China has seen the greatest period of urban growth in human history. The construction boom in its cities includes the creation of many lavish new concert halls. But with great ambitions come growing pains; show-stopping designs and massive lobbies are at times met with shortcomings in acoustics and inconsistent building standards.

Architectural historian Victoria Newhouse spent time touring China's "grand theaters" as she researched her forthcoming book, Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls. Newhouse spoke with Jeff Spurgeon about some of the more noteworthy facilities. Find out more in the audio slideshow below.


Slideshow produced by Brian Wise, with Jeff Spurgeon interviewing Victoria Newhouse. Images drawn from Site and Sound by Ms. Newhouse.

Listen: Newhouse on why China is building so many concert halls:

Listen: On the different standards for acoustics in Chinese halls:

More in:

Comments [2]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, LaKE Hiawatha,l NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

CONGRATULATIONS TO CHINA FOR ITS CULTURAL AS WELL AS BUSINESS ACUMEN AND VIGOROUS GROWTH IN THE EDIFICES TO PRESENT ITS CULTURE. GUANGZHOU'S OPERA HOUSE IS VISUALLY SPECTACULAR !!! Opera houses like the Boston Opera House, long since torn down, 40 or more years ago, had a sensational acoustic. Its interior was all wood ! I sang with the S.M. Chartock touring Gilbert and Sullivan Company there in 1948. Yes, I am a young 84 year old, active as a skier, mountain climber and runner. Music can keep one healthy and vigorous, particularly if one both creates and performs music. It helps us recognize the cultural potential within our own communities to develop as artists given the models of super star performers, instrumentalists and singers alike, seen performing live in our own communities. At the prestigious Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. I have sung four solo concerts, three of them three hours long at that deservedly respected and honored venue. Born and living in Jersey City, NJ I had the distinct advantage of proximity to the Met Opera and the New York City Opera and to Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and Lewissohn Stadium to attend both rehearsals and performances of major orchestras and chamber music ensembles. I had started my professional career at age seventeen and was known sufficiently to receive entrance to rehearsals and broadcasts at Carnegie Hall by Mr. Turner, the house manager. Even at Toscanini’s Studio 8 H as well his Carnegie Hall rehearsals and broadcasts, access to the Toscanini events I had by my friendship at Juilliard with a violinist in the NBC Symphony who represented me as a family member. At age 10 I heard on WNYC a broadcast of the recording of Toscanini’s conducting the New York Philharmonic in the Rhine Journey and Funeral Music. This recording was made long, long before his recording with the NBC Symphony. That hearing encouraged me to borrow from our major library in Jersey City, on Jersey Avenue, the piano vocal scores of all the Wagner operas from Der fliegender Hollander to Parsifal and the full orchestra scores of the RING and TRISTAN. I started studying composition and composing from then on. . My study of voice with Friedrich Schorr, Alexander Kipnis, Margarete Matzernauer, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, Mack Harrell, John Brownlee and Karin Branzell, all leading singers at the Met Opera before they retired, prepared me for my rep decisions. Schorr, Kipnis and Singher I saw in performances at the Met long before I got to study with them. I studied composition with Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Goeb. I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor, the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, and an opera composer of “Shakespeare” and “The Political Shakespeare. My websites where one may download, free, 37 complete selections out of the one hundred that I sang in four main hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium, solo concerts, I repeat, three of them three hours long. Website:

May. 14 2012 04:30 AM
Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt from NYC

very informative interview about Theater and Opera houses architecture! Inspires me to take another trip to China just to visit these buildings.

Jan. 28 2012 09:03 AM

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