El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía


El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

"El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía" (Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts) is an opera house and cultural centre in Valencia, Spain, the last-completed part of a grand City of Arts and Sciences concept designed by the Valencia-born and internationally-known architect, Santiago Calatrava, which began in 1995 and which opened on 8 October 2005. The first opera - Beethoven's "Fidelio"- was given on 25 October 2006.

The building was constructed by a joint venture of Dragados and
Necso [ [http://en.structurae.de/structures/data/index.cfm?ID=s0002428 Structurae database] ] .

Administration of the building is in the hands of Helga Schmidt, formerly from London's Royal Opera House from 1973 to 1981. Schmidt has attracted some major artists to be involved with the Palau. Among them is Zubin Mehta who heads up an annual music and opera festival, the "Festival del Mediterraneo" which began in 2007; Lorin Maazel who became music director; and Placido Domingo who brought his "Operalia" competition to the Palau in October 2007. [George Hall, "Revival House", "Opera News", May 2006, pp 40-42]

Performance and other venues

Under the huge curved roof structure, 230 metres in length, the building rises 14 stories plus 3 stories below ground. Its height is 75 metres.Adrian Mourby, "Is it a bird? Is it a plane?", "Opera Now", January/February 2007 pp.32-33] The 40,000 sq. metre building contains four auditoriums:
*The Sala Principal (Main Hall), which seats 1,700 people, functions primarily for opera, but it can be converted for dance and other performing arts.

:The Hall has 4 tiers of seating, a stage equipped with all major facilities and an orchestra pit capable of housing 120 musicians, the third largest in the world. Sadly, it has suffered a number of incidents since its opening which do not allow it to run at full speed. The first of these was the collapse of the main stage platform with the complete set of Jonathan Miller's production of "Don Giovanni" in December, 2006. This forced the "Palau" to cancel the last performance of "La Bohème", all of "La Belle et la Bête" and meant that the management had to re-think the whole of what remained of the inaugural opera season. In November, 2007, the entire complex suffered a series of floods which meant that the recently re-built stage platform was paralised once again due to the fact that almost two metres of water entered the lower floors of the building and wrecked the electronics and the motors of the complex stage equipment, forcing the management to once again re-schedule the season, delay the premiere of "Carmen" and cancel the opera "1984".
*The Auditorio is located above the Main Hall. It seats 1,500, and its facilities include sound and video systems capable of screening events taking place below.Officially given to the managing Trust during the 2007-2008 season, it is a spectacular venue with multiple uses, from classical music concerts to political rallies.

*Aula Magistral is capable of seating 400 people and is used for chamber music performances or conferences.

*Martí i Soler Theatre was constructed below the base of the Palau's plume and seats 400. It shall be used for theatre productions and as a training centre for the main auditoria.Unfortunately it suffered vast damage during the 2007 flooding and it's opening was delayed. Luckily it had no equipment installed so the estimated cost for its re-building shall be lower than one might have expected.

References

External links

* [http://www.cac.es/palau/home The Palau section from City of Arts and Science website (in English)]
* [http://www.cac.es/home?languageId=1 City of Arts and Sciences website (in English)]


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