Journey to the Centre of the Egg

Of course, not all of Beijing’s landmark buildings are old, or even old style. I’ve shown pictures of the CCTV Tower, the Water Cube, the Bird’s Nest, and other modern creations. This time we move on to another of the city’s modern wonders: the China National Centre for the Performing Arts, AKA the National Grand Theatre. It has been nicknamed (not entirely affectionately) The Egg.
It’s in the central part of town, right next to the Great Hall of the People.
Which is next to Tian’anmen Square, just south of the Forbidden City. In other words, it’s surrounded by the landmarks of previous centuries. There have been many complaints that this expensive structure just doesn’t fit in, and that something more conservative would have been more appropriate. I’ll admit it looks a little odd, but it’s so cool I don’t care whether it fits in or not.
It’s completely surrounded by water, and the entrance is a glass-ceilinged corridor under it.
To either side of the corridor are exhibits dealing with the performing arts, both in China and in the rest of the world.
Inside the Egg is as amazing as you might expect.
This was on a Sunday afternoon. For ¥40 you can come in, wander around, and catch some of the many informal events taking place.
We caught an organ recital involving a really impressive pipe organ. Any guesses what piece she played first?
Up at the very top of the structure is an area that can be used for receptions and small performances.
This is about five stories up.
It’s a long way down to the entrance.
Back down on the main level there was a string quintet playing an arrangement of an ancient Chinese song about the legendary Butterfly Lovers.
This massive barrier is actually one of the doors into the main auditorium. It’s patterned after traditional Chinese doors.
It’s also really heavy. Two of the sweeping ladies had to help the water delivery guy open it. The main auditorium was not accessible. I guess maybe I’ll have to get a ticket to a real performance to see in there.

Back in the concert hall, an orchestra was rehearsing with a harp soloist. The conductor explained at length about the piece, but it was in Chinese, and all I caught was the name Ginastera. They stopped a few times to go over tricky passages, but we did hear several complete movements of very cool modern music.
After a while, we went upstairs to check out the view from the balcony.
Once back outside, I walked all the way around to see if from various angles.
Pretty darn cool, I’d say.

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