Palladium brings world class to Central Indiana

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The Vienna State Opera in Austria, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and the Sydney Opera House in Australia are often considered to be the best symphony concert halls in the world. Perhaps now the Palladium, located in Carmel, Ind., will some day be among those great buildings.

This concert hall, which had its grand opening last weekend, will surely entertain thousands of Indianapolis area residents for years to come.

Upon first seeing it, the Palladium is a truly impressive building. The architecture is set in a classical style influenced by Villa Rotonda in Vicenza, Italy. Villa Rotanda’s architect Andrea Palladio is perhaps the inspiration for the Palladium’s name as well.

While the outside of the Carmel building is impressive, the hall itself is world class.

Built in a “shoe box” style with a rectangular hall and high ceiling, the venue seats 1,600 people. Three floors of balconies on the sides of the hall add seating, but are also excellent seats for viewing the stage.

In some concert halls, the main floor doesn’t have a good seats, but the sloped nature of the Brazillian cherry hardwood floor makes for excellent seats, no matter where you are.

Another important aspect of any concert hall is the acoustics and how the builders put in different materials to maintain a perfectly acoustic sound. Everything from the flooring, to the handcrafted plaster on the walls, to the seat cushions contribute to the amazing sound inside the concert hall.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the acoustics inside the building is the “acoustic canopy,” which is a 63 foot wide set of glass panels that vary in size from 5/8th-inch to 1 and 1/2 inches thick. These panels can even be lowered to 34 feet from its original 60 foot level to create an even richer sound quality.

All of the state-of-the-art materials inside, added to the limestone used to construct the building, make up the $126 million price tag for the Palladium.

The city of Carmel will be spending a bit more money in the upcoming year as well to finish the Center for the Performing Arts Complex, including $13.5 million for the Booth-Tarkington Theater, which will be used for putting on plays and musicals.

However, the Palladium is the crown jewel in the soon-to-be-completed Arts Complex.

In an interview with The Indianapolis Star, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he wanted the Palladium to be something that generations will enjoy and that this is what Carmel has contributed to the community.

With the 2011 season quickly filling up, the lineup offers a wide variety of entertainment, including classical music shows, jazz musicians, dance groups and country artists.

The classical music acts will be the shows to see, however, because the hall was constructed for precisely that kind of music. With groups including the Vienna Boys Choir and the world-renowned St. Petersburg Philharmonic coming in March and April respectively, the Palladium should be considered one of the cultural beacons of the Midwest.