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Renovated, orchestra-less Orchestra Hall unveiled

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Even if it remains silent, Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis is back.

The Star Tribune reports that the newly renovated venue was opened up to the press Thursday morning, just three days ahead of an important deadline in the ongoing contract dispute between the locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and management.

Gone in the $50 million makeover of the venue is the "sea of 1970s orange," as the paper described, replaced by more "classically subdued" hues.

The lobby of Orchestra Hall is now doubled in size and has a gray-and-white color scheme. Also new are glassy staircases to various levels, and new windows that look out at the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

Also among the additions is a large glass-enclosed atrium, which will accommodate many uses; as well as a second-tier terrace that will give patrons a fresh air view of Peavey Plaza.

As for seating, patrons will now find wider seats with more leg room, but the number of seats available has shrunken from 2,450 to 2,085.

For the meantime, Orchestra Hall present any events until the Minnesota Orchestra contract dispute is resolved, general manager Robert Neu told the Star Tribune.

Groups including the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and VocalEssence are planning to rent the space, however.

Neu believes the hall will generate an extra $300,000 in income a year through the rentals.

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