- Sala Suggia
Floors 2 to 4
Capacity: 1238 seats
Regarded as the heart of the Casa da Musica, Sala Suggia – so named as an homage to Guillermina Suggia, Porto’s native cellist and a world exponent for this instrument during the first half of the twentieth century - serves as anchor to the whole building, allowing the main routes to develop around it. With seven windows that connect either to the exterior or to other spaces, providing different viewing angles, it is the only concert hall on the planet where you can play music exclusively with natural light, enough for reading music sheets. Hundreds of auditoriums throughout the world have chosen to have openings, windows, skylights or fenestrations, but none comes close to the luminosity of Sala Suggia.
The decorative arts and the fundamental periods of Western music history deserve special attention in Sala Suggia, evoked by the gold gilding on the walls or by the pipe organs. Such evocations coexist and dialogue with a set of elements of undisguised contemporaneity, enrolling in the canopy, the régie or the maintenance bridge.
The acoustics of the main auditorium is, admittedly, excellent. All coating materials were chosen focusing on this primary concern: Nordic pine plywood for walls and ceiling; curved glass for compensation and divergence of the sound waves; and a fabric for chairs that mimics the human presence up until 70% occupancy of the room. In a direct comparison with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Grosser Musikverein in Vienna, or the Boston Symphony Auditorium, all in a shoe box format, Sala Suggia presents a clearer and more distinctive sound, which is noticeable especially in the propagation of high notes. It was, moreover, for the sake of the requirement to obtain the ideal reverb time for a concert hall - approx. 2 seconds – that the orchestra pit and the fly tower were waived, since these would reduce the acoustic performance by about 30%. Whenever the opportunity arises to present an opera or a show that occupies the entire stage, the pit is simulated by removing the first four rows of the audience.
Unlike what happens with auditoriums exclusively devoted to classical and symphonic music, Casa da Musica also hosts other types of music. Hence Sala Suggia has galleries for lighting equipment above the ceiling and a maintenance bridge across that and can slide on it. The equitable distribution of sound all over the room is excellent.
The arrangement of the chairs, having no side aisle or aisle distribution center, provides a smooth access to all seats. To this end the seats were incorporated with a slide mechanism, which allows a person to cross a whole row of chairs without anyone having to get up. That is also why an emergency evacuation of the room is done in record time.