Sunday, July 20, 2014

Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall - Open House

For the past four years, I was curious to find out what is inside this place whenever we pass by Boat Quay, or when going to Asian Civilization Museum - but it was always closed then.
Image from: National Arts Council (NAC)

Hence when I read that it is having an open house
only for a weekend,  we decided to dropped by to see this newly renovated Victoria Theater and Concert Hall. 

Upon entering the historical building, we saw a scheduled performance which was about to start.   We watched a 30 minutes Chinese Opera performance inside the the Victoria Theater Hall located at left wing.

Then we registered to join the last batch (5:30pm) of free guided tour of the place.  

Still having 45 minutes free time, we went on the second level and saw a queue forming to enter the Victoria Concert Hall, so we followed suite!

The Philharmonic Youth Winds had played 3 sets of beautiful music, before we return to the ground level to joint he tour.

Next we joined the guided tour which is almost like a history lesson.

We learned a lot from this educational tour, and here are some of the trivia which I can still remember -
  • This place was originally compose of two separate buildings (the Concert Hall at the left wing, and Theater at the right wing).  Which historically is separated by this corridor. 
  • The interior facade of the left wing was designed differently (to depict pre 1950s era) from the right wing which follows the Victorian architecture.

  • The place was first built as Town Hall on 1902 to commemorate Queen Victoria's death on 1901. 

  • Inside the concert hall is where LKY delivered his first speech as he founded the PAP.
  • Again on 1980, he delivered a speech here for the inauguration of the Victoria Concert Hall, which is well preserved until this day, you can download it here.
  • The Clock Tower was sponsored by the Straits Trading Company.

  • The Coat of Arms Plaque of the colony of Singapore, the current state Crest is an adaptation of this plaque

  • The place is currently run by Esplanade Management group
  • Some of the old concert hall seat's backrest and cast iron seat numbers were recycled to become wall arts.

Hope there will be more of this kind of educational tours around Singapore's historic buildings.  Can't wait to see the complete refurbishment of the Old Supreme Court and City Hall buildings - around Padang as well.

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