Lincoln Center has recently begun several face-lift procedures, and a new and extremely improved State Theater was recently presented by a gala performance in the auditorium, and a dinner and dance.
The changes in Alice Tulley Hall were immediately obvious—no one can miss the large glass entrance foyer that looms over Broadway. The changes are not visible from the outside however, as it was originally designed in 1964 by Philip Johnson to house the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.
Most significantly, two aisles now slice the orchestra into three parts. Previously, with the old Continental-seating plan, if you had a choice seat in the center of row M, you had to somehow go over 27 people to get to it. Row M now has 20 seats in the center section and 12 on the other side of each aisle. The design firm of JaffeHolden has conquered the troublesome acoustics of the hall, so that no electronic enhancement system would be needed for singers. Also, an elevator can now lift the orchestra to stage level and lower it back into the enlarged pit.
At the very beginning of the gala, the orchestra was in the upper position and lit up the stage like a giant Christmas tree. Santa was also there, in the person of David H. Koch, the co-owner of his family’s industrial multi-industry company whose gift of $100 million toward the renovation led to the renaming of the State Theater. It is now officially the “David H. Koch Theater.” On stage were members of the New York City Ballet performing a work by Peter Martins, and starring singers included NYC Opera veterans Samuel Ramey, Lauren Flanigan, Joyce DiDonato, and Rufus Wainwright. The new general manager of the company George Steel graciously greeted the opera’s great former maestro, Julius Rudel.
Via: Vanity Fair