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+--Forum: General Comments and Questions
+---Topic: Walt Disney Concert Hall started by RichKoster
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 18, 2003 11:34 am/pm
The Walt Disney Concert Hall's opening
With its crisp glass walls, audaciously curved facade and icy sheets of polished steel suggesting billowing sails caught in a strong wind, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a jarring sight as it rises out of a colorless area of downtown Los Angeles' Bunker Hill.
The city's latest landmark isn't lacking in attention. Even weeks before the curtain goes up (the grand opening is Thursday), architect Frank Gehry's block-long metallic structure was leaving a profound mark on the city - and perhaps its collective unconscious.
Spectacular. Optimistic. Completely out of place. Those are some of the remarks heard in recent days as construction barriers have come down and musicians have begun slipping in for rehearsals. They're the sort of comments that also greeted the likes of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, structures that got some first-night reviews worse than Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring but are now much beloved. Whatever the fate of Disney Hall, its spirited exterior, shielding the elegant 2,265-seat auditorium within, is a dynamic presence in a particularly gray part of Los Angeles' notoriously ragged downtown.
As you walk through the place, you notice things like the floral pattern of the carpet, echoed in the staggered seating that spills over the Douglas fir-paneled auditorium. You hear the sharp scuffle of shoes on the shiny cedar floor of the venue, and you hope latecomers are kept in the foyer until a suitable break in the music. You gaze up at the massive skylights, and then see space between the sensual acoustic paneling and the shell of the building, a design, we find out later, that lends the music a hint of natural reverb.
Outside the venue, near the public gardens, you notice how Gehry demystifies the building itself by exposing openings in the structure's steel skin to reveal its very innards. "Look at the Eiffel Tower," Moss said. "It's all nuts and bolts and pieces of steel. Here, the state of being unfinished is part of Gehry's statement."
The next step in the cultural history of Los Angeles begins this week, when the new home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale opens to a crescendo of publicity. Sixteen years after the project was first imagined and at more than twice its projected cost, Disney Hall has landed - some would say blossomed - and with it comes hopes for a reinvigorated urban landscape.
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And don't forget that on Wednesday, October 29th, at 8 pm Pacific time on (check your local listings), Great Performances - "Disney Concert Hall Inauguration" will show The Los Angeles Philharmonic holding its grand opening performances at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall.