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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 13:27 GMT
Wales Millennium Centre: Your views
Wales Millennium Centre
Sir Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Michael Ball helped open the huge Wales Millennium Centre on Friday.

The building opened to the public at a total cost of 106m following a decade of plans, arguments and funding wrangles.

The Millennium Centre provides a new home for seven arts companies, including the Welsh National Opera and disabled therapists the Touch Trust.

A weekend of celebrations have been planned for the opening including a concert, a hymns and arias show, and a royal gala that will be attended by the Queen.

Have you visited the Millennium Centre? What did you think of it? Do you think cultural centres are a good investment for the future or a waste of public funds?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your comments:

Real in-your-face excellence
James Fields, London
Wonderful, masterly, inspired, unexpected, a blazing example of how to do something to a level of real in-your-face excellence. As a Scot living in London, I am jealous, and as a resident of this city look at the utterly ill-conceived and mediocre Dome with my jaws even closer to the ground! What a brilliant use of local materials as well!
James Fields, London

And everyone thinks it's ok to spend 106m on a building? I hope the homeless and those dying of starvation get to see it!
Diane, Southampton

Yet another white elephant and waste of public money! Would 106 million have made any difference to re-training of the long-term unemployed and for the general regeneration of the Welsh infrastructure or is there no room for any improvement? Presumably the sanction of such a large amount of public funds comes from millionaire, Tony Blair's politburo of overpaid and "expense rebate frenzied" government ministers rather than the long-term unemployed like Mr Jones who lives, with his family, in rented accommodation over a fish & chip in Llanfairfechen high street?
Jock, London, England

It will be fine if it is used and supported by everyday folk
Tony Brooks, Cambridge, UK
It will be fine if it is used and supported by everyday folk. Part of this will depend on how much it will cost the common man to attend events there. I think if something is funded by lottery money, it should be free (or discounted) to use by those who essentially paid for it - the public.
Tony Brooks, Cambridge, UK

Good for Wales. I look forward to visiting it next time I am in Cardiff. It is good to see culture being given prominence in parts of Britain away from London and better still that Wales is at last being given the respect it deserves.
Adrian Gilbert, Tonbridge, Kent

Complete waste of money looks like a giant slug from outside! Why spend this sort of money on the arts when the health service in Wales is crumbling!
Jay Cromwell, Cardiff Wales

A quietly confident statement about the materials Wales gave the industrialising world
Martin, Cardiff
I am an Englishman living in Cardiff and for me the comments here reflect the welsh paradox: Wales is a beautiful land full of wonderful, passionate people whose creative gifts and kindness set them apart in glorious ways. Yet far too often darkly lilting voices seek to diminish what the Welsh bring to the World. God knows why. In my home town of London, where six million people are all strangers, there nests a dome without a heart. It cost seven hundred and fifty million pounds. The Millennium Centre is a work of genius with a beating heart, a keen intelligence and a soul that simply soars. It is a quietly confident statement about the materials Wales gave the industrialising world and the poetry and song she continues to give. And if you doubt that consider this: in how many capital cities of the World, if the curtain failed to open, as curtains sometimes do, would the audience begin to sing the hymns that once echoed through the valleys of their homeland. Wales is the land of song, and the reason is this: it has the most beautiful spirit in the World.
Martin, Cardiff

The Millennium Centre is something that the Welsh people should be immensely proud of - and by the same token, the rest of the UK should be jealous of. What strikes me more than anything about the Millennium Centre is that Cardiff have once again been able to complete such an ambitious and striking project without fanfare, huge amounts of debt or controversy - the Millennium Dome, Wembley and the Scottish Parliament are just a few examples of how not to do it.
Neil Bailey, Accrington, UK

106 million for this monstrosity? Surely we have more important things to spend our money on than this elitist rubbish?
John, Cardiff, UK

Hijacking funds that could be far better invested in something other than a cultural coffin
name here
A waste of money. Yet again vast amounts of money targeted for opera buffs a tiny group parasitic on the rest of us, but sadly all too articulate, hijacking funds that could be far better invested in something other than a cultural coffin.
John, Leeds

How refreshing to see that real money has been spent on a figurehead building, instead of the normal penny pinching attitude that normally prevails. I doubt whether I will ever go to the building, it is of no direct benefit to me, but well done to those who produced it, and ignored those who whinge about everything.
Barry P, Havant England

Impressive and a great location. A few comments:
1. Parking is impossible.
2. The road signs (if they exist at all) in Cardiff are abysmal, how on earth does anyone not from Cardiff find their way round?
3. The lights outside the Millennium Centre in what used to be the dry dock look like giant fly-killers.
4. Shame about the shops opposite, they're all a bit Milton Keynes-ish. Would be good to match the culture and beauty of this building with some culture in boutique shops.
Tom Franklin, London, UK

This spectacular building marks the transformation of the Bay from a commercial theme park to a place of international significance.
Bob, Cardiff Bay

There can be no doubt that it is a truly magnificent landmark, for a truly magnificent capital
Jon, Cardiff, Wales
Of all the posts here so far, how ironic that those from America and Yorkshire ring most true - we need to stand united as a nation for our identity to be truly respected. Whatever your personal opinion of the architecture of this building, there can be no doubt that it is a truly magnificent landmark, for a truly magnificent capital. As a Welshman I am proud to say that I live in such a city.
Jon, Cardiff, Wales

Our Local Authority seem to believe opera buffs in full evening dress will travel to the Millennium Centre by bus or queue patiently after a show for the limited number of available taxis. Without parking facilities I fear this beautiful venue will struggle to put bums on seats.
Steve, Cardiff

Yet another example of the north/south divide. I'm sure it's a very nice building and I'm sure it would be a great experience to go and see it. However when am I realistically going to be able to go down to Cardiff? More attention should be paid to other areas of Wales. For example, areas that aren't Cardiff.
Mat, Rhyl, Wales

A cultural symbol that we should all be proud of
Paul, Pembrokeshire
A cultural symbol that we should all be proud of - as we are proud of our Millennium Stadium. I really hope its a big success story that puts our nation on the map.
Paul, Pembrokeshire

One word... parking. It's bad enough when there's a game on in the Millennium Stadium, but if there's a game and an event in the Millennium Centre, life in the Bay is going to be cramped.
Ollie, Cardiff Bay, Practically next door to the Armadillo

Another great day for Wales. So what if the Millennium Centre is four hours travel time from North Wales? London's attractions are four hours away from most northern English towns, so why should those few moan about Cardiff hogging the limelight?
Richard Jones, Rhyl, North Wales

It's stunning. Anything that did not draw such mixed and strong opinion would be bland and forgettable. This is architecture as it should be - wish I could say the same for the rest of the Bay development.
Ian Jones

A lot of people moan about the architecture of this new building but people in Sydney moaned about their Opera House when it was built. Soon I think it will be as famous and as loved as this other building.
Chris Stevens, Newport, South Wales

I think the Wales Millennium Centre looks fabulous. I used to work in Cardiff Bay and watched its development. I hope it will be a success.
Margaret Abbett, Swansea

Another truly ugly building for Cardiff
Owain, South Wales and London
What a shame, another truly ugly building for Cardiff - a real tombstone! If only the city had the conviction, ambition and vision to go with Zaha Hadid's building.
Owain, South Wales and London

I was born and grew up in Wales, 40 years ago. Things like this make it more possible that I might consider moving back one day. The Welsh National Opera are great - it's great that they have a proper home now. And 106m wasn't bad - what did Royal Opera House cost again? Well done Wales!
Daniel, Antwerp Belgium

A wonderful building aptly reflecting the Welsh landscape. I am sure the efforts to make this building open to all lovers of performance and art will confound those that label it a symbol of elitism.
Helen Newman, Cardiff

One way in which Wales can emerge from the provincial, drab backwater which many perceive it to be, is to have public utilities which make a positive, dramatic statement: the Millennium Stadium and the Millennium Centre are two such.
J Jenkins, Bath, UK

As architecture goes, I much preferred Zaha Hadid's elegant and spacious design for an opera house. As an arts centre goes, it's and absolutely fabulous world-class venue. A great place for people from everywhere to enjoy and to be proud of.
Martyn Richard Jones, Cordoba, Spain

I wonder if Cardiff can find enough people interested enough to fill the place for long?
Leuan Johns, Port Talbot
I think it's a lovely building and if it can really attract regular shows from some of the top companies that usually play in London or New York then all the better. However, I wonder if Cardiff can find enough people interested enough to fill the place for long? I wonder also what will now happen to The New Theatre, St. David's Hall and other such venues in satellite town like Pontypridd and Bridgend?
A much better investment for the city would be to improve rail links with surrounding areas, bring more people into the city centre who don't bother at the moment due to problems and cost of parking, then worry about how to entertain them when they get there. Get the people in first.
Leuan Johns, Port Talbot

It looks like an earwig with lights.
Lena, Cardiff, UK

If I have to read one more sour-mouthed comment on here about how the WMC is 'only for the elite' and 'I couldn't possibly afford to go' I'll tear my hair out! Do you know that you can get a good seat at almost any production (including the 'elitist' opera) for a fiver? No of course you didn't, because you're too insular and bigoted to even bother to inform yourselves! Spend your fiver on the latest Hollywood trash or down the pub if you like, I know where I'd rather spend mine.
Janee, Cardiff, Wales

Terrific, but by train Flint-London 2hrs 34min, Flint-Cardiff 4hrs 12min. Maybe it would have been better built in London (and the National Assembly building too!)
Tim, Mold, Flintshire

What a wonderful use of space - I can't wait to see inside.
Tirion, Cardiff

Its downfall may be the consequence of the Welsh peoples' failure to embrace it
David, New York, New York, USA
Very impressive. I look forward to visiting. Regrettably, its downfall may be the consequence of the Welsh peoples' failure to embrace it. Why can't the Welsh people celebrate what they have instead of decrying it?
David, New York, New York, USA

Speaking as an outsider (Yorkshire), I'm flabbergasted by the astonishing parochialism displayed by some Welsh folk from outside Cardiff on this thread. Whinging that this magnificent centre has nothing to do with them or moaning on about buses - have you any idea how embarrassingly backward you sound? Were you never planning to visit your capital at all? Some people don't deserve a cultural vision!
Good luck to all fine Welsh folk who take this wonderful looking place to their hearts.
David Allison, Leeds, UK





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