SSV helps preserve and develop Chinese Opera
SSV is honoured to have provided the acoustical and audio systems design to protect the heritage and ensure the future of Chinese Opera in the new Xiqu Centre.
The first of the venues to be completed in the new West Kowloon Cultural District, the Xiqu Centre, is meant to preserve, develop and promote xiqu, which is the Chinese music theatre traditions of Hong Kong and mainland China. The Centre provides spaces to encourage excellence and experimentation, and to attract and educate the next generation of audiences and performers. Sound Space Vision was part of the competition-winning team led by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects) and Ronald Lu & Partners that was unanimously selected by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority to design the new Xiqu Centre.
The Xiqu Centre offered SSV a tremendous opportunity to engage with practitioners of these traditional arts. The Chinese instruments and vocal techniques of xiqu differ significantly from those in the West, but the nuance of sound is just as important to the performers and audiences. Historically xiqu was performed outdoors where the acoustics of the space controlled the loudness of the percussion. In the late 20th-century most performances in Hong Kong began to rely on amplification. SSV developed an acoustical design to balance the natural sound in favour of the singers so that less amplification is necessary, and also to improve the quality, subtlety, and integration of the amplified sound.
The architects’ lantern-shaped building houses the 1070-seat Grand Theatre suspended above the Atrium. It also has a 200-seat Tea House theatre for smaller traditional performances, a well-equipped Seminar Hall, large and small rehearsal facilities, and a recording/broadcast suite. The impressive, semi-enclosed 17m-high ground level Atrium was conceived as a gathering space and performance venue.
The integration of audio systems and room acoustics for the Xiqu Centre has provided a space that allows a wide and continuous spectrum of “acoustical production,” from highly-amplified to nearly natural, emphasising the visual beauty of the productions. This new Centre gives Hong Kong fans and the city’s many visitors a 21st century experience of traditional arts.
The Xiqu Centre’s Grand Opening ceremonies took place on January 20, 2019.
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Most crucial was a clarity in amplification that kept a first-rate pit band in delineated balance with the three generations of performers in Pak’s superb cast. – Excerpt of review of the opening gala performance of The Reincarnation of Red Plum
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The Xiqu Centre’s key distinction is that it’s looking forward, creating vibrant fusions between different art forms, while honouring its past.
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Revery Architecture engaged London-based Sound Space Vision to design a theatre for both loud percussion and the softer voices of performers.