Opened with tremendous fanfare in December 2001, Rafael Vinoly's dramatic glass-and-steel vault along the Avenue of the Arts encompasses Verizon Hall, a 2,500-seat cello-shaped concert hall built specifically to house the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Perelman Theater, a 650-seat hall for chamber music, dance, and drama with a turntable stage. Other features at Kimmel include an interactive education center; "black box" theater space; a daytime cafe and gift shop in the plaza along Spruce Street; and parking and restaurant facilities. Above all, there is space, acres and acres of it -- space designed to sparkle and amaze, unlike anything else in the area.
With its comfortable mahogany interior, four levels of seating, and excellent acoustics, Verizon Hall is a pleasure. Perelman's design is also nice, with a metal-clad exterior and light woods and warm fabrics within.
Most of the jewels in Philadelphia's cultural crown -- the city opera, orchestra, and ballet companies -- perform either at Kimmel or at the historic Academy of Music (which is affiliated with Kimmel and located 1 block north). Visiting talent in music and dance and an incredible jazz series presented by the Kimmel Center also use the venue frequently. Tickets for both locations are sold during the day only at the Kimmel Center box office. The Kimmel also presents frequent free performances by jazz artists, DJs, singing groups, folk ensembles, and more in its main Commonwealth Plaza, usually in the early evening or afternoon.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010