Friday, October 16, 2009
Dallas Arts District hosts sneak-peek walk-through
After 25 years of planning, opera house and theater are opened to prying eyes.
Plenty's been written about the center, from the September issue of D Magazine to a DMN summary of the Winspear Opera House to reviews by the LA Times (who said the buildings were nice enough but felt detached from the city) and the NYTimes (who said that the buildings "give the area the cultural stature Dallas has long been craving." Oh zing!)
As part of the opening ceremonies, the AT&T Performing Arts Center hosted a press preview on Thursday, offering 100+ journalists a walk-through of the two buildings finished and open:
- Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House -- i.e., the building off Woodall Rogers with the shiny red cylinder
- Dee and Charles Wyly Theater -- i.e., the building whose exterior is made of vertical aluminum rods.
The Center has already scheduled a slew of events, including a big free day on Sunday. It will serve as home base for all of Dallas' big art groups: 1. Dallas Opera 2. Dallas Theater Center 3. Dallas Black Dance Theatre 4. Texas Ballet Theater, and 5. Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico.
Thursday's walk-through included a look inside the buildings, 10-minute talks by the architects, and lunch buffet. Highlights:
- Opera House has sound-buffering panels made of wavy plastic that are coated with gold leaf.
- Opera House seats are covered with perforated gray suede.
- Opera House has a nifty chandelier with 300+ lit tubes that retract when a performance begins, transforming into a starry scape.
- The reflecting pool between the Opera House and the Wyly Theatre would probably show better on a sunny day.
- The stage at Wyly Theatre can be moved around to accommodate the whims of the play-director-production.
- Wyly Theatre had a rooftop patio enclosed by the same aluminum rods that form the building's shell. Lots of views!
- The architects who worked on Wyly Theatre -- Rem Koolhaus and Joshua Prince-Ramus -- both wore serious designer shoes.
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