Big Picture

Scallop halls to hold musical pearls

Like two scallops emerging from the sea, the almost complete Zhuhai Opera House, off the coast of Yeli Island in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, is a sight to behold.

Costing over 1 billion yuan (S$220.8 million) to erect, the opera house in Guangdong province is touted as China's first opera house to be built on an island.

Perched on 50,000 sq m of reclaimed land, the 90m-tall "big shell", as it is nicknamed, will house a concert hall with 1,550 seats.

The smaller theatre, known as "little shell", stands at 60m tall and will accommodate 550 people.

The idea behind the shellfish design reportedly came from a student who saw an Asian moon scallop with pearls inside.

The Asian moon scallop is found in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and coastal areas of some South-east Asian countries.

Work on the opera house, whose Chinese name literally means "pearl sea", started in 2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year, local media reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'Scallop halls to hold musical pearls'. Print Edition | Subscribe