Inside the Palladium

Did you know that palladium is a chemical element (symbol Pd) with atomic number 46? It’s also the name of the latest thing to come to Carmel, Indiana. The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts is a 1,600 seat concert hall inspired by Andrea Palladio’s design of “La Rotunda” built in the 1500s near Vicenza, Italy. The 16th century inspired building stands out a bit in the surrounding area (and perhaps, to some, seems a bit out of place)

There was some criticism with the Palladium as the price of the project continued to grow (see article). What started out as a $80 million dollar project, ended up with a final price tag of $169 million dollars. Last month B.B. and I went to the public opening to see what all of the hoopla was about. The Palladium is a world-class performing arts center with state of the art acoustic set up made of four glass ceilings, each weighting 23,000 lbs. There are also individual vents beneath each of the 1,600 seats.

For now, many of the performances fall under the genres of classical, jazz, and country. While, I don’t mind listening to music from these genres, I don’t know if I’ll be going to the Palladium any time soon. However, B.B. told me that K. D. Lang is coming to the Palladium on June 22. I was surprised that he asked me about her since people here usually don’t recognize that some of the popular singers as being Canadian (and/or they don’t care). I’m also surprised that K.D. Lang is going to be singing here–it almost seems random. B.B. figures that the Artistic Director for the Palladium, Michael Feinstein, probably knows a few people in the business (on a side note, B.B. recognized Michael Feinstein on an episode of “Better With You” a sitcom on Wednesday nights–we don’t usually watch that show, frankly, it’s not very funny).

front steps of the Palladium

No question about it, the Palladium is an impressive concert hall. However, I am wondering if the Palladium is going to be able to sustain itself as a world-class performing arts center. James Brainard, the Mayor of Carmel, claims that the facility will give people the opportunity to experience the Arts as well as bring business to the Arts District of downtown Carmel. However, I wonder if the Palladium is going to be able to sustain itself as a performing arts center for the people of Indiana for a state that is in the middle of recession. (Ticket prices for K.D. lang range from $20 to $120, depending on the section).