San Diego Symphony opens its long-awaited outdoor concert hall on San Diego Bay

Posted on: August 12, 2021

The San Diego Symphony, led by Music Director Rafael Payare, recently inaugurated the Rady Shell, the orchestra’s outdoor concert hall on the San Diego waterfront. Photo: John Francis Peters/New York Times

“The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, a billowing white sail of an outdoor concert hall along the San Diego Bay, was planned as this city’s answer to the Hollywood Bowl: an $85 million summertime stage for the San Diego Symphony, a project of such architectural and acoustical distinction that it would distinguish San Diego on any national cultural map,” writes Adam Nagourney in Tuesday’s (8/10) New York Times. “It opened with a sold-out gala performance Friday night…. The night began with a suitably dramatic flair, as the projected image of the orchestra’s music director, Rafael Payare, instantly recognizable to this crowd, filled a scrim raised nearly to the top of the 57-foot-high stage…. The scrim dropped to reveal Payare and the orchestra, ready to play. That drew the first of many standing ovations…. The opening fanfare by [Mason] Bates, ‘Soundcheck in C Major’ [featured] the composer, 44, sitting in the percussion section. [Cellist] Alisa Weilerstein … was the soloist for the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 … the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet was the soloist on ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ and [bass-baritone] Ryan Speedo Green … sang several arias…. Payare, 41, said [of] the new venue, … ‘The sound is phenomenal.’ ”