RSS Beijing:

Fledgling no more

Updated: 2012-12-27 14:52 By Lu Qianwen

Over the past five years, 307 foreign performing art troupes involving some 40,000 artists have visited the NCPA, and there are well-established annual music and dance festivals on the calendar.

At the same time, the NCPA also looks inward for refined art productions. "Now domestic productions make up 70 percent of our performances each year," Chen told the Global Times. "Professionals from the NCPA are regularly sent out across the country to search for high-quality art performances."

"For example, we have just scouted a Shaoxing opera The Good Person of the South (adapted from The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht )," said Ren Yi, deputy director of Brand Promotion for NCPA. The play is expected to be staged at the NCPA in January next year.

Audience development

Unlike well-established art centers that have a mature and sophisticated audience base, the NCPA faces a relatively young audience. Therefore, the organization takes the job of audience development very seriously.

About a year ago, the NCPA launched its classic music channel website and in May developed it into a mobile APP. The activities help the public learn more about the arts and offer more ways for people to spend their weekend.

"Each year we spend tens of millions of yuan popularizing the education of high arts including lectures, weekend music concerts, youth art week and others," Chen noted. "Art can change life, elevating the quality of people's life."

Indeed, art does change people's life and often, in a romantic way. "During this May's Music Festival, a young man proposed to his girlfriend of two years at a jazz performance, and he succeeded," said Ren.

The way forward

Taking 2.6 billion yuan ($417 million) and six years to build, the NCPA faced controversy from the start. Would it be some flashy but insubstantial project that wastes taxpayers' money? Would it be able to sustain development with such a large area and complicated interior?

"These questions and disputes have basically gone," said Chen, "the problem we face now is ... a shortage of performance space."

Chen introduced that they are planning to build a new stage setting in eastern Beijing's Tongzhou district, and meanwhile explore new theaters in cooperation with some artistic schools to meet the demand. "The performance spaces… are booked full until the first half of 2014, and our own productions have been scheduled through 2016."

"We have sold 900,000 tickets per year, and the average cost of a ticket has fallen from 470 yuan in 2008 to 314 yuan today, making it more affordable for people," he noted.

But a difficult road lies ahead for the NCPA. As it continues its role to benefit the public, its biggest adventure will be how to remain competitive in the market and rise to the status of a world-class performing arts center.

"We are seeking market power to stand out by doing things like developing our international agent partners and establishing regular exchange ties with foreign cities," said Chen, "we are still short of channels to reach the audience end of the foreign market."

previous 1 2

Operatic dream blossoms

Tan Dun's love of traditional Chinese culture, especially gardens and Kunqu Opera, has been constant.

Eat the right food for each meal on Xiaohan

Xiaohan is the 23rd solar term, literally means "Slight Cold". It indicates the weather starts to enter the coldest days.

The price of love

Why not rent a boyfriend, or girlfriend to please parents during the Spring Festival?