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The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
is a performing arts centre in the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe.[1] The Centre hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory. The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
is member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. The London
London
Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Symphony Orchestra
are based in the Centre's Concert Hall. In 2013, it once again became the London-based venue of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
following the company's departure in 2001.[2] The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
is owned, funded, and managed by the City of London
London
Corporation, the third-largest arts funder in the United Kingdom. It was built as The City's gift to the nation at a cost of £161 million (equivalent to £480 million in 2014) and was officially opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
on 3 March 1982. The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
is also known for its brutalist architecture.[3]

Contents

1 Performance halls and facilities 2 History and design 3 The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
in literature 4 Gallery 5 Nearby railway stations 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Performance halls and facilities[edit]

Barbican Hall: capacity 1,943; home of the London
London
Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.[4] Barbican Theatre: capacity 1,156; designed exclusively by and for the Royal Shakespeare Company[2][5] The Pit: flexible 200-seat theatre venue Barbican Art Gallery and the free new-commission gallery The Curve Barbican Film: 3 cinema screens with seating capacity of 288, 156 and 156 Barbican Library: Public library with special collections in arts and music Restaurants: 3 Conference halls: 7 Trade exhibition halls: 2 Informal performance spaces

The second-floor library is one of the five City of London
London
libraries. It is one of the largest public libraries in London
London
and has a separate arts library, a large music library and a children's library which regularly conducts free events. The Barbican Library houses the ' London
London
Collection' of historical books and resources, some of which date back 300 years, all being available on loan. The library presents regular literary events[6] and has an art exhibition space for hire. The music library has two free practice pianos for public use. History and design[edit] The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
had a long development period, only opening long after the surrounding Barbican Estate
Barbican Estate
housing complex had been built. It is situated in an area which was badly bombed during World War II. The Barbican Centre, designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon in the Brutalist
Brutalist
style, has a complex multi-level layout with numerous entrances. Lines painted on the ground help would-be audience members avoid getting lost on the walkways of the Barbican Housing Estate on the way to the centre. The Barbican Centre's design – a concrete ziggurat – has always been controversial and divides opinion. It was voted "London's ugliest building" in a Grey London
London
poll in September 2003.[7] In September 2001, arts minister Tessa Blackstone
Tessa Blackstone
announced that the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
complex was to be a Grade II
Grade II
listed building. It has been designated a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project.[8] The same architectural practice also designed the Barbican Housing Estate and the nearby Golden Lane Estate. Project architect John Honer later worked on the British Library
British Library
at St Pancras – a red brick ziggurat.

Barbican Centre, London, United Kingdom

In the mid-1990s, a cosmetic improvement scheme by Theo Crosby, of the Pentagram design studio, added statues and decorative features reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement. In 2005-2006, the centre underwent a more significant refurbishment, designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, which improved circulation and introduced bold signage in a style in keeping with the centre's original 1970s Brutalist
Brutalist
architecture. That improvement scheme added an internal bridge linking the Silk Street foyer area with the lakeside foyer area. The centre's Silk Street entrance, previously dominated by an access for vehicles, was modified to give better pedestrian access. The scheme included removing most of the mid-1990s embellishments. Outside, the main focal point of the centre is the lake and its neighbouring terrace. The theatre's fly tower has been surrounded by glass and made into a high-level conservatory. The Barbican Hall's acoustic has also been controversial: some praised it as attractively warm, but others found it too dry for large-scale orchestral performance. In 1994, Chicago acoustician Larry Kirkegaard oversaw a £500,000 acoustic re-engineering of the hall "producing a perceptible improvement in echo control and sound absorption", music critic Norman Lebrecht wrote in October 2000[9] – and returned in 2001 to rip out the stage canopy and drop adjustable acoustic reflectors, designed by Caruso St John, from the ceiling, as part of a £7.5 mn refurbishment of the hall. Art music magazine Gramophone still complained about "the relative dryness of the Barbican acoustic" in August 2007.[10] The theatre was built as the London
London
home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was involved in the design, but decided not to renew its contract in 2002 after claiming a lack of performing space, plus the artistic director, Adrian Noble, wanting to develop the company's touring performances.[11] The theatre's response was to extend its existing six-month season of international productions, "Barbican International Theatre Event", to the whole year.[12] On 23 January 2013 Greg Doran, RSC artistic director, announced the Company's return to the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
in a three-year season of Shakespeare's history plays.[13] The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where the Barbican Centre theatrical performances are occasionally staged,[14] and the City of London's Barbican Library, neither part of the centre, are also on the site. The Museum of London
London
is nearby at Aldersgate, and is also within the Barbican Estate. The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
in literature[edit] The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
features in Michael Paraskos's novel In Search of Sixpence as the home of the lead character, Geroud, and also a bar called "The Gin Bar" loosely based on the Gin Joint bar at the Barbican Centre.[15] Gallery[edit]

The Barbican Hall of the Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
and lakeside terraces

The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
stage door

The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
foyer

Interior of The Barbican Centre

Entrance of The Barbican Centre

Shot of The Barbican Centre's ceiling

The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
at night

The entrance to the Barbican Library

Jewin Crescent - Barbican before the Barbican

Nearby railway stations[edit]

Barbican tube station Farringdon station Liverpool Street railway station Moorgate tube station St Paul's tube station

See also[edit]

Barbican Centre, York Barbicania a feature-length film by Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine Culture of London List of concert halls

References[edit]

^ ""About Barbican", from the Barbican's website". Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.  ^ a b Mark Brown. " Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
to return to Barbican Centre Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  ^ Mark Callaghan, "Beauty in the Beast: In Defence of Brutalism", Architect Weekly, 14 November 2013 on architectweekly.com ^ "Venue list: Hall" on barbican.org.uk ^ "Venue list: Theatre" on barbican.org.uk ^ See City of London
London
libraries Archived 23 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Barbican tops ugly buildings poll", BBC News, 22 September 2006, accessed 11 January 2007 ^ Listing of the Barbican complex Archived 8 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. on cityoflondon.gov.uk accessed: 11 January 2007 ^ "Concert-Hall Blues – Oh for an Acceptable Symphonic Environment", Lebrecht Weekly, 11 October 2000 on scena.org. Retrieved on 16 August 2007 ^ August 2007 Gramophone quoted at LSO CD Reviews, on the London Symphony Orchestra's website, undated. Retrieved on 16 August 2007 ^ "RSC ends Barbican era". BBC News. 12 May 2002. Retrieved 31 May 2013.  ^ Shenton, Mark (22 October 2005). "Barbican box office upsurge follows identity make-over". The Stage. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2007.  ^ "The Barbican and RSC announce three-year collaboration" (Press release). 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.  ^ "Silk Street Theatre". Barbican visitor information. Barbican Centre. Retrieved 26 January 2014.  ^ Michael Paraskos, In Search of Sixpence (London: Friction Fiction, 2015) ISBN 9780992924782

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbican Arts Centre.

The Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
official website The history of the Barbican Estate Stay with Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
hotels "Martin Kettle, "Good Old Barbican", The Guardian (London), 2 March 2002 Analysis of the Centre after 20 years. The Barbican Centre, QuickTime VR Interview with Alex Webb at The Barbican

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Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production

1993-2000

Stiffelio
Stiffelio
- Royal Opera, London
London
(1993) La damnation de Faust
La damnation de Faust
- Royal Opera, London
London
(1994) Khovanshchina
Khovanshchina
- English National Opera
English National Opera
(1995) Billy Budd - Royal Opera, London
London
(1996) Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
- English National Opera
English National Opera
(1997) Paul Bunyan - Royal Opera, London
London
(1998) La clemenza di Tito
La clemenza di Tito
- Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera
(1999) Hansel and Gretel - Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera
(2000)

2001-present

The Greek Passion - Royal Opera, London
London
(2001) Boulevard Solitude
Boulevard Solitude
- Royal Opera, London
London
(2002) Wozzeck
Wozzeck
- Royal Opera, London
London
(2003) The Trojans: Parts I and II - English National Opera
English National Opera
(2004) Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District - Royal Opera, London
London
(2005) Madama Butterfly
Madama Butterfly
- English National Opera
English National Opera
(2006) Jenufa - English National Opera
English National Opera
(2007) Pelléas and Mélisande - Royal Opera, London
London
(2008) Partenope
Partenope
- English National Opera
English National Opera
(2009) Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
- Royal Opera, London
London
(2010) Bohème - Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre
(2011) Castor and Pollux - Coliseum Theatre (2012) Einstein on the Beach
Einstein on the Beach
- Barbican Theatre (2013) Les vêpres siciliennes
Les vêpres siciliennes
- The Royal Opera
The Royal Opera
(2014) The Mastersingers of Nuremberg - English National Opera
English National Opera
(2015) Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana
/ Pagliacci
Pagliacci
- The Royal Opera
The Royal Opera
(2016) Akhnaten - English Nat

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