A Grand Dame returns

SINGAPORE - The curtains go up tonight for the first performance at the newly refurbished Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall with a Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) by-invitation concert.

The $158 million refurbishment by W Architects took more than four years to complete and has resulted in a complete overhaul of the interiors, while retaining the facade of the iconic buildings.

A central atrium with a glass roof which links the two buildings seamlessly has been created.

Audience members can look forward to plush chairs from Japan, more leg room and state-of- the-art acoustics.

The seating capacity has been reduced - the theatre has 614 seats compared with 900 before, and the concert hall has 673 seats, reduced from 883.

The reopening of the venues will meet the demand for mid-sized performing spaces in the city.

Located in the heart of the Empress Place civic district, Victoria Theatre is the older of the two venues and started life as a town hall. It was completed in 1862.

The concert hall, which was once called the Victoria Memorial Hall, has been the home of the SSO since 1979.

During the renovations, it played at other venues such as the Esplanade.

The SSO will stage a concert for the public tomorrow.

Co-leader Lynnette Seah describes the return as "an absolutely wonderful feeling of coming back home".

This article was first published on July 15, 2014.
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