The original opera house in Frankfurt is now the Alte Oper (Old Opera) and a concert hall and former opera house in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was inaugurated in 1880 but destroyed by bombs in 1944. It was rebuilt, slowly, in the 1970s, opening again in 1981. Frankfurt Opera is now in a modern building nearby, next door to Schauspiel Frankfurt (drama). Many important operas were performed for the first time in Frankfurt, including Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in 1937.
The building was designed by the Berlin architect Richard Lucae, financed by the citizens of Frankfurt and built by Philipp Holzmann. Construction began in 1873. It opened on 20 October 20 1880. Among the guests was Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, who was impressed and said: Das könnte ich mir in Berlin nicht erlauben. (I couldn't permit myself this sort of thing in Berlin.)
- "Dem Wahren, Schönen, Guten", ("To the true, the beautiful, the good")
- Dem Wahre, Scheene, Gute, die Berjerschaft muß blute. (To the true, the beautiful, the good the citizenry must give its blood.)
The Alte Oper was almost completely destroyed by bombs during World War II in 1944 (only some of the outside walls and façades survived). In the 1960s the city magistrate planned to build a modern office building on the site. The then Minister of Economy in Hessen Rudi Arndt, earned the nickname "Dynamit-Rudi" (Dynamite Rudi) when he proposed to blow up "Germany's most beautiful ruin" with "a little dynamite". Arndt later said that this was not meant seriously.
A citizen's initiative campaigned for reconstruction funds after 1953 and collected 15 million DM. It ended costing c. DM160, and the building was reopened on August 28, 1981, to the sounds of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand". A live recording of that concert conducted by Michael Gielen is available on CD.
The Alte Oper has:
- The Großer Saal (Large Hall) with 2500 seats.
- The Mozart-Saal, 700 seats.
- and smaller halls for conventions.
A new Frankfurt Opera and Play House opened in 1951 so the new building on the site of the original opera house in Frankfurt was always intended as a concert hall. Today it now has a lively, interesting programme and is home to all sorts of entertainment.
|Images of the Alte Oper|
- Groß, p. 50
- Groß, Lothar (2012). Made in Germany: Deutschlands Wirtschaftsgeschichte von der Industralisierung bis heute Band 1: 1800 - 1945. Books on demand. ISBN 978-3-8482-1042-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alte Oper.|
- Alte Oper Frankfurt (in English)
- Stadt-Panorama Alte Oper - Interactive 360 degree panorama with day and night views (in German)
- A view on cities