The George Weston Recital is widely recognized as Canada's best recital hall and one of the top concert venues in the world. The Hall was opened by the magnificent soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa on November 22, 1993.
Many audiences and artists have compared the hall to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Grosser Musikvereinsaal, the European recital halls on which the George Weston Recital Hall was modeled. With 1,036 seats, the hall's proportions and decor reflect the influence of these two blue-ribbon international venues. Famous New York acoustician Russell Johnson has achieved an acoustic marvel with this hall. There is literally no place like it in North America. Background noise is designed as "below the threshold of hearing".
The Recital Hall is an acoustically ideal rectangular room. This shape creates the conditions that make it possible to hear the thunderous 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony as effectively as an actor's whispered aside. The audience is seated on two levels with the single balcony wrapping around the stage from above, establishing the appreciated intimacy necessary for the performance connection between artist and audience. The walls of the hall have been meticulously insulated, the process responsible for the near complete exclusion of background noise. For further sound manipulation, retractable curtains and panels provide optimal listening conditions in a variety of configurations.
The modern lines of polished bird's eye maple, plum colour seats, a midnight blue background and determined architectural details make for an aesthetic victory to complement the world class sound that is synonymous with the Toronto Centre for the Arts.