Calatrava's Valencia opera house rivals Sydney

7th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 October 2005, VALENCIA — The Palau del les Arts Reina Sofia, architect Santiago Calatrava's space age opera house, is finally to open.

7 October 2005

VALENCIA — The Palau del les Arts Reina Sofia, architect Santiago Calatrava's space age opera house, is finally to open.

The last part of his City of Arts and Sciences project, the opera house had been due to open last year but was hit by the usual delays which come with these landmark projects in Spain.

Admirers of the Valencian architect claim the opera house will outdo Sydney's version for sheer splendour.

Queen Sofia of Spain will open the opera house on Saturday, accompanied by a distinguished group of supporters including tenor Placido Domingo.

The 1,800 seat opera house will also have an open-air auditorium with space for another 2,500 more.

Designed to look like the pupil of an eye, it is higher than its Australian rival.

It has a complicated system of mobile platforms, inter-changeable scenery and advanced audio, video and film equipment for putting on operas on the largest scale.

It is all part of the huge EUR 165m Palau of the Arts and Science project, which is thought to have cost much more.

This opened in 1998, and is surrounded by a huge pond. It also contains an IMAX cinema and a laserium.

The Science Museum is made of white concrete and cascades of glass that from some angles which look like a 220-m-long dinosaur's spine caught in an ice floe.

The City of Arts and Sciences was commissioned by the government of Valencia.

It has been compared to Moorish or Mogul styles, even to the Taj Mahal for its extensive use of water.

"You can't avoid what people write," said Calatrava.

"What I have tried to create is a city that is within Valencia, but lives by itself. I wanted to give it the character of a park. I am proud of the fact that people can walk through and around the main buildings without paying. It is a city to be discovered by promenading."

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Subject: Spanish news

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