The Guangzhou Opera House is one of the most fascinating opera houses in the world. Designed by the renowned Zaha Hadid—the first female winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize—and completed in 2010, today the opera house has affirmed its position as a cultural city icon of Guangzhou, and exudes some of the latest trends in architecture. With 70,000 square meters and 1,804 seats, it is the third largest performing arts center in China.
The construction cost an estimated 202 million dollars, and took five years to complete. In May 2010 it finally opened to a performance of Puccini’s Turandot. It has subsequently gone on to on to collaborate with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the English National Opera and Lithuanian National Opera. Both classical operas, and Chinese musical productions, are performed.
The award-winning architecture, with its wave-shaped foyer, is inspired by the concept of two rocks washed away by the Pearl River. The facade of the building is made of glass and granite, and supported by a steel frame. The opera house is also equipped with the latest acoustic technologies, ensuring an outstanding sound.
Before the Performance
- One should consider arriving early to have the time to observe the spacious and remarkable exterior and interior architecture.
- One should consider eating beforehand, as the drinking and eating options at the theater are limited.
- For steak lovers, nearby is the Butcher’s Block Steakhouse. This will provide a perfectly filling and satisfying meal before a performance.
Outside the Opera
- For those who wish to culturally ingratiate themselves into the neighborhood, the theater is nearby the Library Museum, and the Canton Tower.
- There are numerous art installations and sculptures from prominent Chinese artists located at the opera house. If one has the time, they are worth one’s attention.
- One to two hours are recommended if one wants to truly observe all that the opera house has to offer, from an artistic and architectural standpoint.
- Guided tours are available.
- It can be difficult to find a cab, so we recommend taking the subway, or booking a taxi in advance of the show.
- If one is scheduled to see a matinee show, it may still be worthwhile to visit the opera house in the evening. At night, it is lit up magnificently.