Wednesday, August 4, 2010

$20 Million Pays for a Concert Hall of 875 Seats?!

Perhaps I do not know anything about the current level of inflation to the American Dollar, or perhaps I am merely naive about these sorts of things, but I did think that such an expense for so relatively small a performance space was rather extravagant.

In Edmond, Oklahoma, the Armstrong Auditorium is scheduled to open on September 5, 2010, with a performance of Felix Medelsohn's Elijah, which will be performed by the Herbert W. Armstrong College Choral Union, and the soloists are David Grogan (baritone), Paula Malone (soprano), Pamela Williams (mezzo-soprano), and James Doing (tenor). The building itself is most beautifully adorned and appointed with luxurious accents; in fact, the first word that my city's major newspaper, The Oklahoman, employed when describing it was palatial.

When one approaches the structure, one must cross the plaza in the foreground, which is made of travertine stone imported from Turkey. As one can barely see in this photo, there is also a 40,000 gallon reflecting pool in front of the main facade, and inside of the pool is the sculpture Swans in Flight by British sculptor David Wynne. The lobby is encased by glass on three sides, and the roof is supported by twelve forty-eight feet tall columns, which do remind one of the Ancient Greeks and their structures in Athens and Corinth. The lobby boasts at least three Swarovski-Strass crystal chandeliers weighing up to two tons and holding between 15,000 and 21,000 pices of crystal each suspended over a carpet of royal purple. Other decorations that adorns the room are Baccarat crsytal candelabra used by the Shah of Iran to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Empire of Persia, panels of caramel colored onyx mined in Azerbijan and polished in Viareggio, Italy, and American Cherry wood panels extend from floor to ceiling with matching grains.

While all of this is most opulent for the eye to behold, one cannot help but to think that twenty million dollars could have provided at least over a thousand seats. Nevertheless, I am most elated at the prospects for this new venue, and I hope that it serves to bring many excellent artists to perform in our metropolis area. The inaugural season is scheduled to showcase The 5 Browns, the Eroica Trio, The Vienna Boys' Choir, the Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields Orchestra, a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian National Ballet Theatre, Andre Watts, Anderson-Roe Concert Piano Duo, and Opole: National Philharmonic of Poland.
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