Strolling on Middle Jinling Road and appreciating buildings of totally different styles, maybe you cannot help wondering how a huge steel-and-concrete building could be moved 66.46 meters horizontally and raised by 3.38 meters. The building which deserves such great efforts is Shanghai Concert Hall, which is now located at No. 523 East Yan’an Road of Huangpu District, Shanghai.
The Shanghai Concert Hall, formerly called “Nanking Grand Theater”, was inaugurated in 1930. It was Shanghai’s first theatre designed by Chinese architects. This building and its equipments took a leading position in Shanghai. The then “Shanghai Correspondents” of American’s New York Daily compared it with the Roxy, the most advanced theatre in the United States then, and called it the Roxy of Asia.
Granted an exclusive showing license by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 20th Century Fox Film Corp., the newly opened Nanking Grand Theatre presented American films such as “Broadway”. The films shown then set up a record of having the theatre filled to full capacity for months. In 1932, the first home-made film “An Actor and an Actress” was shown at the theatre. Apart from films, stage plays and concerts were also performed here. Since 1932, the Summer Concert held by Symphony Orchestra of Municipal Committee has become a regular performance at the theatre. From April to May, 1946, Mei Lanfang and his Peking Opera Troupe performed for 13 straight days.
In 1950, the Nanking Grand Theatre was renamed Beijing Cinema. In 1959, the cinema was determined to be the most ideal place hold the first “Shanghai Spring Concert”, since its sound effects and other aspects met the standards of professional concert halls. Therefore, the once grand theatre turned into today’s Shanghai Concert Hall. In 1960, the first Shanghai Spring International Music Festival opened in Shanghai Concert Hall. It has been held here (or in Shanghai Grand Theatre and He Lüting Concert Hall, etc.) annually ever since. This building has become the music palace in Shanghai.
Shanghai Concert Hall is of rather simple and typical Neo-classical style with four square floors. The façade of the first floor is veneered with stone, decorated by horizontal lines. Walls of the remaining three stories are covered with dark yellowish bricks. On the outer walls of the first and second stories, two lonic semicircular pillars and two lonic quarter-circular pillars form three shallow colonnades, with three semi-circular-arched French windows and small balconies projecting outside each window. The design is simple, yet grand.
Once you are in the lobby, the most eye-catching are 16 pink marble pillars for ornamentation, decorated by golden capitals.
Go upstairs, you will get to a platform leading to six gates, inside of which is the great hall. The hall is floored in white marble with wooden floor inside, and white walls with light blue lineation. Made of special materials, the floor looks solid but feels soft, thus helping reduce the noise from the footsteps.
The hall can accommodate 1,243 seats, 721 on the first floor and 522 on the second floor.
The stage is 11.13 meters by 13.13 meters, covering around 145 sq. meters.
The hall boasts an elegant dome, which is covered with 800 sheets of 24K gold foil, and decorated with Chinese style dark brown window grids and plasterboards with golden flower patterns on the sides, presenting a special taste of contrast.
Entering from No. 7 gate into Shanghai Concert Hall, on the 4th floor you will find a French restaurant named “Yang Yue Hui (Club Shanghai)”, meaning “the club with music rippling through”. The name really fits Shanghai Concert Hall. Furnished as French palace corridor, the restaurant assumes a luxurious air. The dishes here are always updated according to the seasons.
Go through Xizang Road and turn at the first crossing, you will arrive at the well-known South Yunnan Road Food Street. Rice Cakes with Pork-Chops in Xiandelai, Sliced Cold Chicken in Xiaoshaoxing, Boiled Salty Duck of Xiaojinling, and Lamb in Hongchangxing are on the long list of choices.
In the nearby Pu’an Road, there is a Neon Children’s Square. It sells everything for children, ranging from clothes to food. Mothers are frequent customers here.