Associated Press

CARDIFF, Wales รณ Welsh stars past and present took center stage at the opening of a glittering new concert hall in the capital, Cardiff.
Today's stars, including baritone Bryn Terfel, paid tribute to entertainers including singer Shirley Bassey, soprano Gwyneth Jones and actor Richard Burton at Friday's opening [26 November] of the Wales Millennium Centre.
The $200 million slate, glass and steel building, "inspired by the landscape and by the industrial and cultural heritage of Wales," includes a 1,900-seat auditorium that will house the Welsh National Opera and facilities for a variety of arts and cultural organizations.
The dockside arts center, nicknamed "the Armadillo" for its humpbacked shape, symbolizes a newfound cultural confidence for Wales, a principality of 3 million people to the west of England.
Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that the center would help overcome a Welsh inferiority complex.
"Sometimes people think if you say this is going to be Welsh, that means it is going to be ingrowing toenails, brain cells whatever," he said. "And if it is world-class, then it won't be Welsh. Well, this is definitely Welsh and world-class and it puts down a marker for a very self-confident Wales taking its stage on the world map."

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