widthWhich theater will the country need in the next few decades? Who sets the route and makes the decision? Is it a director, an architect, a cultural politician, a treasurer? For the public sector, this involves not only a large amount of funds, but also cultural self-image issues. Both call for the participation of civil society. But this also raises a question: how much voice does the audience have, and how do they make themselves heard and competent in such a complex debate?
Theaters are expensive to build and maintain. If you add up the estimated costs of the 13 largest new construction and renovation projects currently under construction or planning in Germany, the total is about 5 billion euros. Obviously, the overall renovation of the small three houses can no longer be less than 100 million, because our current overview of more than a dozen current projects shows that the big house has already reached the one billion mark.
After all, the era of fine arithmetic is over. The cases of the Elbe Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin State Opera under the Linden Tree, and the Cologne Opera have played a therapeutic role in this regard. It is now not in favor of initially working in a deliberately low-cost manner in order to politically strengthen new cultural buildings, as is the case in Hamburg. From Cologne and Berlin, you can learn how important it is to focus on building structures in the early stages and include high-risk buffers in the calculations to deal with unforeseen additional costs and price increases. Anyone who initially deceived themselves and the audience will be punished by citizen anger and continued negative news.
Frankfurt am Main has been one of the first honest cities from the beginning. In June 2017, a research report showed that the renovation of the double theater in the city center and the construction of the new opera each cost about 900 million euros. Subsequent intensive and expensive inspections basically confirmed the results. Even in the affluent Frankfurt, the impact of huge sums of money is deep. But no one in politics or citizens questioned the need for a high-quality solution. The heated debate revolved around the issue of whether renovation should be given priority to retain its eye-catching glass-walled foyer, or whether to propose a new building, and if so, whether opera and drama should be better separated. future.