The Alte Oper (Old Opera) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, used to be one of Germany’s most important opera houses and is now one of the most beautiful concert halls in Germany. The Grosse Saal (Large Hall) of the Alte Oper has seating for an audience of 2500. The building also includes the Mozart-Saal with 700 seats as well as some smaller halls used for conventions.
The building, designed by Berlin architect Richard Lucae and financed by the citizens of Frankfurt, was inaugurated in 1880. Among the invited guests was Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, who, impressed, stated:
Das könnte ich mir in Berlin nicht erlauben. (I couldn’t dare build this in Berlin.) (Wilhelm I)
The citizens of Frankfurt, who had to finance the structure (initially projected at a cost of two million Marks), were rather sceptical in the beginning. Alluding to the inscription on the frieze (“Dem Wahren, Schönen, Guten”, “To the true, the beautiful, the good”), Frankfurt poet Adolf Stoltze rhymed in his best Hessian dialect:
Dem Wahre, Scheene, Gute, die Berjerschaft muß blute. (To the true, the beautiful, the good, and the citizenry has to give its blood.) (Adolf Stoltze)
Many important works premiered at the Alte Oper, for example Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in 1937.
The Alte Oper was almost completely destroyed by World War II bombing in 1944 and the city magistrate planned to build a modern office building in place of the ruin. The Hessian Minister of Economy at the time, Rudi Arndt, earned his nickname “Dynamit-Rudi” (“Dynamite” Rudy) when he proposed to simply blow up “Germany’s most beautiful ruin” by using “a little dynamite”. Later, Arndt denied having meant this seriously.
A citizen’s initiative campaigned for reconstruction funds after 1953 and collected 15 million DM. Ultimately costing about 160 million DM, the opera house was reopened on August 28, 1981 to the sounds of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.
Because a new opera house had already been built in 1951, the rebuilt Alte Oper was designed for use as a concert hall from the beginning of its reconstruction. Today, it regularly hosts concerts and plays.
from Wikipediaover 7 years ago