The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, southern Taiwan's first performing arts center of world-class caliber, will open to the public on Oct. 13 under the banner "Center for the Arts, Arts for the People."
Affectionately known as "Weiwuying," the name of the former military camp upon which it is built upon, the Center's construction was entrusted to Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and is hailed as the largest design project in Taiwan.
Surrounded by lush vegetation and a canopy of banyan trees, the sweeping, graceful curvatures of the 9.9-hectare Center was inspired by the harbor city's marine heritage and built in collaboration with Kaohsiung's local ship-making industry.
It houses an opera house equipped with a mainframe computer, a concert hall stationed with a 9,194-pipe organ, a playhouse with a stage configurable to proscenium or thrust, a recital hall fashioned with optimal acoustics, and an amphitheater facing the sunset.
The Center will open its doors with "Weiwuying Grand Opening Season," offering over 70 performances and workshops in theater, circus arts, dance, music, and interdisciplinary works from Oct. 13 through Dec. 31.
Over 170 top artists from Taiwan and abroad will participate, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra led by Gustavo Dudamel, Mariss Jansons and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and the renowned organist Iveta Apkalna, who will be among the first artists to perform at the Center's vineyard-style concert hall.
"Paradise Interrupted," the Center's first international opera co-commissioned with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Spoleto Festival USA, and Singapore International Festival of Arts, will also make its debut at the new venue. The modern adaptation of Kunqu classic "The Peony Pavilion" is not one to miss.
Audience members will also have the opportunity to enjoy timeless traditional performances by the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan and Chio Tian Folk Drums & Art Troupe in a contemporary setting. Taiwanese opera and Jiangsu Kunqu opera shows are on the program as well.
A special gala program celebrating Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's 45th anniversary and the enduring works of its founder Lin Hwai-min will also grace the Center in December.
The announcements were made by Chien Wen-pin, a world-renowned conductor and the designated executive and artistic director of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. More details and updates can be found at: www.npac-weiwuying.org.