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Now Listen Here, O.C. Residents Retort

November 03, 2001

After reading Nicolai Ouroussoff's worthwhile review of the Orange County Performing Arts Center's new concert hall ("Concert Hall Design Misses the High Notes," Oct. 30), I couldn't wait to reach my computer to e-mail my thoughts. I noticed that he is in dire need to be informed about reality.

I am so sorry he doesn't get the point of building a concert hall. Its primary purpose is to create great sound. Most patrons of great music (AC/DC doesn't count) don't attend a Mahler symphony to get a high from the ticket counter. There are probably no sane people who care whether a hospital is architecturally pleasing as long as it has the best equipment and physicians to take care of them. I would hate to be the patient flat-lining because the architecture was so, as Ouroussoff put it, "organic."

Second, the reason the Orange County Performing Arts Center is so great is not for the importing of the arts but for the great organizations that were born here. Pacific Symphony is ranked third in California. It should be ranked first if quality and heart were first priority for ranking. It has a much higher rate of seats sold when compared with the lifeless L.A. Philharmonic and a greater magnitude of pride in its supporters. Same goes for Opera Pacific and the Pacific Chorale. So next time, please try to confine your myopic comments to areas concerning structure, not spirit.

It's been awhile since I've seen the plans for Disney Hall, but as I recall it bears a close resemblance to another structure in Spain designed by the same architect. I know, the color will be different, so I guess I'm impressed. We in Orange County deal with reality and not the Hollywood fiction that L.A. is used to. Just like the existing building of the Performing Arts Center, the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall will be built from the inside out. It is the reason that Vienna Philharmonic members and other great artists from around the globe could not stop complimenting the quality of the sound. That is our point of pride.




We don't need some architecture critic tearing down a beautiful project, built by hundreds of generous people, before the first curtain ever goes up, based on his personal taste.

To say that the Orange County Performing Arts Center is "a poor second cousin to the Music Center" is a very biased statement. I live midway between the two and find OCPAC far more inviting to attend in respect to both programming and location. Ouroussoff seems to think that "architectural significance" is the major goal of a performance center. I believe most rational people would be impressed that the Orange County people built a major performance venue for a fraction of what was spent in L.A.

Please leave Ouroussoff to write for the likes of Architectural Digest.


Long Beach


The review by Ouroussoff was an interesting comparison of the two new venues (Disney Hall and OCPAC). However, a complete comparison should have given the reader a sense of the budgets for the two structures and the additional cost that would have been necessary to build a structure similar to Disney Hall. Several articles have appeared in the press detailing the complex construction process needed to build Disney Hall and the additional cost associated therewith.

We are lucky to fund the structure we are getting. This area just does not have the deep pockets necessary to fund architectural monuments. The architect's work, unlike the painter's, is not independent of the materials budget: Therefore, to be fair, Cesar Pelli's work should also be considered in relation to the constraints of his commission.


Corona del Mar


I find it strange that no reference was made to Pelli's local buildings: notably, the striking blue and red buildings of the Pacific Design Center on Melrose and 777 Tower downtown, not to mention the Plaza Tower in Costa Mesa itself.


Pacific Palisades

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