OTSU, Shiga Pref. — Giving a boost to opera, the only theater in western Japan to offer a special four-tier stage, will celebrate its gala opening today at the southern shore of Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture.

The 24.5 billion yen Biwako Hall, completed in March, offers the public a chance to see top-class operas and classical concerts with the region’s only quadruple stage setup that enables performers to swiftly prepare future scenes and replace previous ones.

The four-story building can seat nearly 3,000 people in the three halls of its main theater, and opening gala performances are “La Donna del Lago” by Gioacchino Rossini and the ballet “Swan Lake” by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky as well as the operetta “The Bat” by Johann Strauss II.

With ramps and spaces for wheelchairs, the building is designed with special consideration for the elderly and handicapped. The main theater with 1,848 seats can also turn into a concert hall when sound reflection boards are set at the back and sides of the main stage.

In an inaugural event, three Italian operas by Teatro Comunale Di Bologna are scheduled for Sept. 25, 26 and 27. Tickets are expected to sell out quickly for the first date.

Japan’s only other halls equipped with the four-tier stages are the New National Theater Tokyo and a convention center in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

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