Paris won’t pay Philharmonie costs

Paris won’t pay Philharmonie costs


norman lebrecht

September 07, 2014

Jean Nouvel’s wonderful new hall for the Orchestre de Paris, due to open in January, is running 45 million Euros over its last approved budget of 305 million- and almost double the original projection.  In normal times, the city and the ministry would split the difference. But France is in economic doldrums and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has told the government she’s not paying another sou.

There’s a serious risk, we hear, that work will stop this month and the hall won’t get finished.



  • Peter says:

    If the Philharmonie does open on time with the advertised programme, what is then the plan for the Salle Pleyel? Does it close, get sold off, have a different programme?

    • GEll says:

      It has already been announced that Salle Pleyel will no longer present Classical music performances as soon as the new hall opens.

      • newyorker says:

        What, exactly, will the Salle Pleyel present? the World Wrestling Federation?

        • Charles says:

          Well you’re not that far off : jazz, contemporary singers etc.
          The wife of the former owner of Pleyel is suing the State for fraud. The “Salle Pleyel” has been sold for 60.5 millions euros when the structure alone had been estimated at… 110 millions !

          I have never supported this endeavor, I have never trusted Nouvel to do a job (and I’m not talking about a “good job”). This whole disaster is the result of political decisions made without any consideration for the music world or the Philarmonie for that matter. It’s just a complete and disgusting waste of money.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    The French, or Parisians, can count themselves lucky. The much-touted new concert-hall in Hamburg – the Elbphilharmonie, perched on the top of an old warehouse – is already three years behind schedule and not likely to open before 2017. At current projections total costs are likely to come in at about 900 million euros, four times what the building was originally going to cost.

    • John Borstlap says:

      …. and that has been an absurd building project, merely to enhance the status of local bureaucrats.

    • Charles says:

      Hamburg is jealous of Berlin and of it’s new 4.5 BILLIONS EUROS useless airport. 🙂
      At some point 36.000 (yes 36.000 !) defects had been identified. The airport was supposed to be inaugurated in… 2011 !
      In June 2014, it was discovered that the engineer in charge of the project had in fact… no diplomas.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Hidalgo, another Hollande mistress!

  • Nick says:

    What is it about arts buildings that result in many being completed way over budget? We all know of the saga of Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House which surely takes the record at around 1,400% over budget. Valencia’s now crumbling and leaking Opera House is part of the City of Arts and Sciences which went 400% over-budget. Copenhagen’s Opera House cost overrun was more than 100%, but at least that entire project was financed by one individual and not by any public funding.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      I suspect a mixture of deliberate underestimates in proposing the project (eg London Barbican, London Olympics) and subsequent mismanagement and no doubt in some cases (eg Sochi) corruption.

    • sdReader says:

      Innovation — achieving something unique, never done before.

      But Mike Schachter is right to point to deliberate under-estimating and mismanagement once the thing is under way.

      The Birmingham, England, examples are nice, but the architecture is drab indeed — which of course does not preclude a successful auditorium inside!

  • Edward Smith says:

    Not all-
    Birmingham – Symphony Hall – 1991- on on time, on budget
    Birmingham – CBSO Centre – 1998 – on time,on budget……………..

  • Charles says:

    From AFP : “Pour la Ville de Paris … : la Philharmonie doit s’orienter vers un “nouveau modèle”, avec davantage de musique populaire, réputée moins chère, et réduire son budget de fonctionnement (32 millions par an, dont 16 millions à répartir entre la Ville et l’Etat).”

    Whatever !!!