Chinese Opera House Opens

By Sophie Goldstein,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2007 4:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Armed ballerinas and a song by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin today celebrate the opening of Beijing's controversial National Grand Theater, a $360 million modern arts complex built in the shadow of the Forbidden City. The Red Detachment of Women, however, is a traditional touch—it's one of eight plays permitted under the watchful eye of Mao's wife, reports the Guardian.

The design, which features an artificial lake and a titanium shell covered by glass, was selected by the Chinese government in 1998 from a pool of local and international submissions. The three state-of-the-art theaters inside the shell—which seat more than 5,000 collectively—are expected to draw the world's best orchestras, operas, and musicals.