Alte Oper
The Alte Oper is a major concert hall and former opera house
Opera house
An opera house is a theatre building used for opera performances that consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building...

 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The building was inaugurated in 1880. Many important works have been premiered at the Alte Oper, including Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

's Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana (Orff)
Carmina Burana is a scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff in 1935 and 1936. It is based on 24 of the poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana...

in 1937.


The building was inaugurated on October 20, 1880. It was designed by the Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 architect Richard Lucae and financed by the citizens of Frankfurt. Among the invited guests was Kaiser
Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

 Wilhelm I of Germany, who was impressed and stated, Das könnte ich mir in Berlin nicht erlauben. (I couldn't permit myself this sort of thing in Berlin.)

The citizens of Frankfurt, who had to finance the structure (initially projected at a cost of two million marks
German gold mark
The Goldmark was the currency used in the German Empire from 1873 to 1914.-History:Before unification, the different German states issued a variety of different currencies, though most were linked to the Vereinsthaler, a silver coin containing 16⅔ grams of pure silver...

), were rather skeptical in the beginning. Alluding to the inscription on the frieze
thumb|267px|Frieze of the [[Tower of the Winds]], AthensIn architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon...

"Dem Wahren, Schönen, Guten", ("To the true, the beautiful, the good")

Frankfurt poet Adolf Stoltze rhymed in his best Hessian
Hessian dialects
Hessian is a West Central German group of dialects of the German language in the central German state of Hesse. The dialect most similar to Hessian is Palatinate German of the Rhine Franconian sub-family...

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 World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 bombing in 1944 (except parts of the façades), and in the 1960s the city magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...

 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 Rudi) when he proposed to simply blow up "Germany's most beautiful ruin" by using "a little dynamite
Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

". 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
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

's Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 8 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is often performed with fewer than a...

, the "Symphony of a Thousand". A live recording of that concert, conducted by Michael Gielen, is available on CD.

Today, the Alte Oper consists of:
  • The Großer Saal (Large Hall) which has seating for an audience of 2,500.
  • The Mozart-Saal with 700 seats.
  • Smaller halls used for conventions
    Convention (meeting)
    A convention, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. The most common conventions are based upon industry, profession, and fandom...


Because the new Frankfurt 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.

External links

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