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09 Jun 2012
Duisburg Petition Drive Proves Strong Support for Local Opera
Amidst crucial, ongoing financial concerns about future funding for opera
and ballet throughout Germany’s highly populous North Rhein-Westphalia
region, a diverse gathering at the Duisburg Theatre verified sincere grassroots
support for Deutsche Oper Am Rhein and the current partnership with nearby
The primary issue of governmental monetary support reached a crisis point on
May 2nd, when Duisburg’s administrative board recommended terminating a
partnership that has been in place since 1956 with the Dusseldorf company. It
was publicized that approximately one hundred Duisburg performances per year
would be cancelled, starting in the summer of 2014.
Primary concerns voiced in regarding to the potential cuts ranged from the
huge impact on Duisburg’s Philharmonic Orchestra to a loss of numerous
student or youth based programs, and the general decline of the community’s
A packed performance hall included a range of patrons from well heeled
season ticket subscribers to cheap seat, student rush types. Cultural Experts
on hand to present and discuss information included Professor Werner Lohmann,
President of the NRW National Music Council, and Dr. Christian Esch, Director
of NRW Cultural Affairs.
A petition drive to save and continue current production schedules has
reportedly gathered over 28,000 signatures in four weeks. At that rate, the
entire city may have signed by the next “commission for culture” meeting,
set for June 25th. This is still, indeed, a developing story.
Ideally, the many supportive voices raised will prevail as clearly and true
as those regularly heard on the dual stages of Deutsche Oper am Rhein. It is
sometimes difficult to remain optimistic under current budgetary conditions and
it seems like all bets are off these days in EU financial projections.
Hopefully, this musical tale of two cities will conclude without dramatic
losses for either performers or their audience.
By Phillip Woolever
For related stories, see:
Berlin's Struggling Artists Demand Share of the Pie
Uwe Eric Laufenberg Resigns
Photo by Frank Heller