Alte Oper Frankfurt: Renaissance in its Operatic Melodies
The original Opera House of Frankfurt is the Alte Oper. The Old Opera house which later on was renamed as Alte Oper was nearly destroyed during World War II. It was after a great amount of struggle that it could be reinstated to its former glory.
It was and still is among the most prominent opera houses in the whole of Europe. Today’s Alte Oper has often been described as a palatial marvel which is located in a beautiful plaza surrounded by shops and stores, and everything modern.
The Alte Oper is situated towards the north western side of the inner city of Frankfurt and is located right at the Opernplatz.
Alte Oper can be reached using the underground train network; in-fact Alte Oper has a station on its own name. Also, taxis are available quite easily. Furthermore, there are nearly about 6 parking garages in the vicinity.
The wealthy citizens of Frankfurt through their donations and with the assistance of master architect Richard Lucae and a well-known builder Philipp Holzmann, the Opernhaus or the Opera House was created in Frankfurt. It was frequented by the glitz and glamorous and the famous people of Frankfurt and royalties also from all across Europe. It was the center of a massive cultural spring of its time. You could easily find the who’s who of the arts flocking around in their small groups in the vicinity, sometimes attending performances and/or otherwise appearing as though they are immersed in some humongous gargantuan intellectual dialogue full of turmoil and surrounded by curtains of smoke.
It was a place of delight and marked Frankfurt on the map of Europe. The opera house played a crucial role in the cultural development of the region and has definitely infused todays’ Germany in many ways. Germans are in any case quite proud of their heritage and thus through this social spirit, the opera house and the tradition of performances have still remained vibrant and ever growing in Germany.
History of 20th century Europe has been dynamic indeed but full of conflict and wars. After the Opera House was reduced to smithereens during the bombings of World War II it was tagged as “Germany’s most beautiful ruin”. It took Frankfurt nearly seven years to get its only other opera house in 1951 and thus the Old Opera House was named as Alte Oper.
The theatres flaunt their lavish interiors which are exquisitely decorated with balconies, columns and sculptures. Great efforts were definitely made to revive the Old Opera House in the image of its former glory. The great architect hailing from Berlin: Richard Lucae was the one who designed Alt Oper in Frankfurt and it was later on built by Philip Holzmann, on whose name the Philipp Holzmann AG was established. Its construction began in the year 1873 and it took nearly seven years to complete the construction process. The grand inaugurated of the opera house took place on 20th of October, 1880. While formulating the architectural paraphernalia, Lucae designed the building in Italian Renaissance style.
The Old Opera House was left to complete ruins in 1944 after the bombings of World War II. Furthermore, in the 1960’s the ruins of the opera house were set to receive another setback as it was almost decreed to be blown up. It was only after a whole range of campaigns by the citizens that funds for reconstruction could be collected and then finally on the 28th of August, 1981 the opera house, renamed as Alte Oper returned to its former glory. The opera house heralded its coming back to life to the resounding sound of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.
The panther quadrigram on the opera house was built in the image of the well renowned Semper Opera House in Dresden. Now a days the building is used for concerts, conferences and other events.
Throughout history the Opera House has risen to many performances including Carl Orff’s famous Carmina Burana. This 34 meter tall renaissance styled building featured imperial staircases and large auditoriums. The Opera House was counted as among the most important opera houses of Europe.
There is a blissful fountain right in front of Alte Oper. It is a nice and lively place to simply hang around or stroll through. You will be able to spot many young couples talking though towards the dusking day.
The most famous and memorable performances at Alte Oper have been delivered by the Berlin Philharmonic and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. At the Alte Oper performances keep going on throughout the year and therefore there will be enough opportunities to catch a glimpse of an opera there.
Probably the most amazing part of purchasing a ticket of Alte Oper is that you are then allowed to travel for free on any form of public transport from 5 hours before the commencement of the performance and till the service closes at night time. Furthermore, it is also important to know that this facility is only valid through the tickets purchased from Alte Oper and not by any other means.
Guided tours can easily be organized. Furthermore, a small fee is also charged if the size of the group is larger than 12 individuals. Tourists and other individuals from diverse interest areas have advised and regarded Alte Oper as a site of must visit.
Alte Oper has a massive seating capacity of about 3200 in total (Gross Saal: 2500 and Mozart Saal: 700) and retrofitted with modern day equipment’s and amenities.
Alongside the Alte Oper you can find a variety of restaurants and small eating joints which serve a whole range of gastronomic fantasies, ranging from authentic German food to whatever you can fancy. The operas complex also offers in-house catering and is reasonably priced.
It is also quite a fantastical place to walk around. You can just choose to sit in one of the restaurants or just at the stair case of the plaza and watch the building undergo a transition as the day light returns to its amber glow and then fades into darkness, almost as if darkness, not to consume but attempting to equate everything around, as if the viewer is made to return to the time that once was.