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Georg Quanders book, Opera land : a fortress for fine intellectual

To around 200 platforms in the world is shown regularly Opera. Almost half of them located in Germany and within the Federal Republic of Germany is, in turn, No

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Georg Quanders book, Opera land : a fortress for fine intellectual

To around 200 platforms in the world is shown regularly Opera. Almost half of them located in Germany and within the Federal Republic of Germany is, in turn, North Rhine-Westphalia frontrunner: 13 music theatre ensembles in the city, 15 cities play: Aachen, Bielefeld, Bonn, Detmold, Dortmund, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Köln, Münster, Wuppertal and Düsseldorf-Duisburg and Krefeld-Mönchengladbach.

Even if Fans of Verdi, Puccini, Wagner and Co think, of course, more on Milan, New York, Salzburg or Bayreuth, if of the most expensive and most complex of all art forms, occupies the top place in terms of Opera, variety, of all places, a Region which is not valid in the General consciousness just as the fortress of the fine intellectual. The supply density in NRW to be the same as in Berlin: On the 1.16 million residents, a music-theatre-house, statistically. And the offer is even wider than in the capital, the crowd flows in addition to many. Every year, more than 100 new productions to come out in North Rhine-Westphalia, a Million people visit the 1000 Opera performances. The Berlin Opera Foundation registered in 2018 to 800 evenings, only around 770 000 paying guests.

First chronologically, then home for house

Georg Quander, from 1991 to 2002, artistic Director of the Berlin state Opera and then to 2013, head of the cultural Department in Cologne, knows both worlds. And breaks in his book "Opera in the land of North Rhine-Westphalia," a lance for a cultural landscape, which is traditionally in the shadow of the feuilleton reporting. The North Rhine-Westphalian theatre are not the heritage of a noble representation of culture, but in most cases, real citizens stages. Regent, which competed with other princes and Dukes, who could afford the most magnificent court, there were on the territory of today's NRW is only in Detmold, Düsseldorf and Bonn. Until the industrial Revolution brought the art form in the emerging coal and steel centres. Between 1872 and 1911 were built in the Rhine and Ruhr, nine theatre and five existing stages enlarged and embellished.

After the Second world war, however, they were all in ruins, only the Hofbühne in the remote Detmold had survived the hail of bombs. But, as everywhere, the culture of hunger was in these years that the Not particularly large. Soon the theatres were rebuilt or architecturally spectacular new buildings replaced, such as in Dortmund, Münster and Cologne. In 1959, there were in Gelsenkirchen even a new start-up: the foyer of the "Musiktheater im Revier" created by the painter Yves Klein, several large-scale paintings, in his later, legendary ultramarine blue.

504 pages Georg Quander works first chronologically through the history of music in the Region before he describes in the second part, then house by house, detailed to the Seating plans of the Zuschauersäle. A lot of that is because of local Patriotic value, and so are of practical Use for the local visitors. But at the same time the history of Opera in the Rhineland reflects, as in the Ruhr, of course, the total social developments in Germany, from the self-assurance of the bourgeoisie by the stage of art in the late 19th century. Century up to the brutal culture of saving round the time of the transformation.

hope for chance of Survival

Insistently Georg Quander warns that the cash-starved municipalities with the financing of the Opera state of North-Rhine Westphalia, have long been hopelessly overwhelmed. 350 million euros to bring the cities per year in pain, he figures. And yet, many institutions need to work permanently at the limit of what is Reasonable. Only an increase in the participation rate in the country could help in here, Quander. The lag in NRW with an average of just nine per cent in fact, so far, shamefully low. In Hesse, the state government is in control of 33 percent to the budget of the stages, stresses Quander, in Baden-Württemberg 43 percent, and in Bavaria, not 64 percent.

And how in a sing-song game with a Happy ending, it was after the completion of the editorial Work on the book is actually still a surprising positive twist: Minister of culture, Isabel Pfeiffer-Pönsgen announced that the operating grants in the country for 15 more part houses, the three pure theatre and the 15 orchestra in NRW will be raised by 2022 to 30 million euros annually. Thus, the hope to live again, that this is globally unique density of the Opera landscape has still a chance of Survival. Good luck!

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Georg Quander: Opera state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Wienand Verlag, Cologne, 2018, 504 pages, 36 €

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