The Wales Millennium Center
All Photos (c) Donna Dailey
The Wales Millennium Centre is one of the finest arts centres in Britain, and an architectural triumph in Cardiff Bay. It can also be enjoyed on a behind the scenes tour, which is one of the best things to do in Cardiff.
The stunning front of the Wales Millennium Centre stops visitors in their tracks when they see it for the first time. It's set back a little from the waterfront of Cardiff Bay and has a sweeping golden-steel front with huge lettering carved out in glass. The letters make up two short poems, one in Welsh and one in English, reflecting the bilingual nature of Wales.
The Millennium Centre celebrates Welsh culture in all kinds of ways, being built out of Welsh materials such as glass, steel, slate and wood. It is the home of seven major Welsh arts organisations, including the Welsh National Opera, with ballet, drama, music, comedy and poetry also being performed here.
Seats can be had for as little as a few pounds, as the policy of the Millennium Centre has always been to make the arts accessible to all. If you're visiting London and want to see an opera, it can be cheaper to take the train to Cardiff and spend the night than to pay London opera prices.
The best way to fully enjoy the Wales Millennium Centre is to book one of the hour-long back-stage tours. These take you into the dressing rooms, the rehearsal rooms and the various performing spaces as well as teaching you more about the public areas and their specially-commissioned works of art. Tours are obviously affected by what's happening each day, and if you're lucky you might even catch one of Wales's fine opera singers such as Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins in rehearsal.
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