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Poly Theater opens in Shenzhen
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A Christmas concert presented by China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra will be staged at Shenzhen's Poly Theater tonight.


Located on the west bank of Shenzhen Bay in downtown Nanshan District, the new landmark, in the shape of a drop of water, had its soft opening last week with “Jin Sha,” or “Gold Sand,” an original musical presented by pop musicians Sha Baoliang and Tan Weiwei.


Then, on New Year’s Eve, the theater will host a grand show to celebrate its official opening. The concert, to be broadcast live on CCTV, will feature stars like Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu, Chinese cellist Wang Jian and pianist Li Yundi.


Bearing some resemblance to the National Grand Theater in Beijing, Poly Theater appears curvier than that building. Some have given it the nickname “click mouse.” Upon entering the building, visitors see a spacious lobby with a transparent roof which will allow in the sunshine during the day and attract eyeballs with its lighting at night.


Inside the theater, more than 1,500 seats on three terraces and eight balconies look over the 1,700-square-meter central stage, which reminds people of a painting frame waiting to be filled with exciting scenes.


The acoustic reflector that covers the stage works with the canopy and walls to provide perfect sound effects. “The sound of tearing a piece of paper on the stage can be heard anywhere in the theater,” said general manager Zeng Ruoming.


In front of the stage is an orchestra pool that can be elevated during the performance of operas and musicals. The huge movable platform and several hundred computer-controlled lamps allow for the most dazzling stage effects. There are a total of 17 dressing rooms backstage. “This one is nothing shy of splendor compared with the National Grand Theater or the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai,” Zeng said.


The Beijing-based China Poly Group Corporation has invested millions of dollars in the new theater in Shenzhen, which took three years to complete. With the maturing of a well-knit local society and growing demands for entertainment and art, Shenzhen is a highly valued market for the No. 1 live performance supplier in China.


“Some have raised the question that Shenzheners are not as keen as those in Shanghai and Beijing on live performances, and the city already has the grand theater, Huaxia Arts Center, and the new concert hall,” said Ren Wei, a senior manager with Beijing Poly.


“To me, we’re still short of quality shows here. The industry will not prosper when only one or two theaters have shows to offer. Shenzhen, an economic powerhouse, has great potential in its cultural market. A rich repertoire will gradually draw more people to the theaters and cultivate in them a love and habit of watching galas, musicals, ballets and operas,” he said.


Quality performances are a prerequisite for a successful theater. With that idea in mind, the management of Poly Theater has prepared 11 shows for the first quarter of 2008.


The schedule includes “Tibetan Riddle” and “Dynamic Yunnan” by dancer Yang Liping, the ballets “Swan Lake” and “Notre Dame de Paris,” the musical “Butterfly,” and the Broadway blockbuster “Cats.”


Poly Theater will set new ticket pricing standards for Shenzheners, with a balcony seat for the musical “Cats” costing a record-setting 2,880 yuan. Will they buy it? Let’s wait and see.


(Shenzhen Daily December 26, 2007)

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