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Commentary

Duisburg Oper Theater [Source: Wikipedia]
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 Dusseldorf.

Duisburg Petition Drive Proves Strong Support for Local Opera

By Phillip Woolever

Above: Duisburg Oper Theater [Source: Wikipedia]

 

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 cultural foundation.

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

31Mai2012_Duisburg_FOTO_Fra.gifPhoto by Frank Heller

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