The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), is an arts centre containing an opera house in Beijing, People's Republic of China. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in five venues and is almost 12,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.
The exterior of the theater is a titanium-accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to look like an egg floating on water, or a water drop. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable.
The dome measures 212 meters in east–west direction, 144 meters in north–south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north–south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom. The design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.
Internally, there are three major performance halls: The Opera Hall is used for operas, ballet, and dances and seats 2,416; the Music Hall is used for concerts and recitals and seats 2,017 and the Theatre Hall is used for plays and the Beijing opera. It has 1,040 seats.
The initial planned cost of the theatre was 2.688 billion yuan. When the construction had completed, the total cost rose to more than CNY3.2 billion. The major cause of the cost increase was a delay for reevaluation and subsequent minor changes as a precaution after a Paris airport terminal building collapsed.
The Centre produces Opera, Theatre, Ballet, Concerts and Peking Opera and has venues for art exhibitions.