Paris in chaos as judge suspends Salle Pleyel license

Until this morning, the plan was that the much-loved but acoustically inadequate Salle Pleyel would cease to be used as a classical music venue after the opening of the new Philharmonie, intended for next January but possibly delayed.

The Salle had been sold to the Cité de la Musique, which intended to use it for non-classical purposes. A judge this morning nullifed that deal.

The court action was brought by Carla Maria Tarditi, a little-known conductor who was married to Hubert Martigny, co-founder of Altran Technologies, which bought Pleyel in 1998. She wants the Salle preserved for classical music.

So now it looks like Paris will have too many classical halls and not enough music directors, as maestros flee an avalanche of impending cuts.

Report here.

salle pleyel

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  • This is great news. Because Pleyel remains an excellent concert hall.

    This question should not have arisen. Either there lacked a concert hall in Paris, as all those defending the project of Philharmonie pretended, and therefore Pleyel should continue existing ; or there was a good number of them, and the Philharmonie wasn’t needed at all.

    In the end, this is a colossal waste of money, but the fact is that the sales for the first season of the Philharmonie are, according to many sources, truly appaling, around 700-800 tickets sold on average for most concerts… And the mayor (and more precisely the 1st deputy mayor, in charge of culture) has already announced that the future programming should include more “popular” repertoires, i. e. musicals (as is now the case all season at the Châtelet, where you could formerly see great opera and symphony productions) and “urban music” (international popstars, etc.).
    So, all this time and money to build a much not needed Philharmonie in an inadequate location, and in the end it is now more probable than ever that classical music will remain at Pleyel, and that the Philharmonie will only host a few international orchestras, and half-empty concerts of the Orchestre de Paris (at least for a couple seasons, before they decide to relocate too).

    And at the same time, the auditorium of Radio-France (opening in november) seems more promising…

    • After reading more on this news :
      – The selling of the hall to the Cité de la musique has not been canceled : the (state-owned) Cité de la musique owns Pleyel since 2009 : the French state bought back the concert hall from Hubert de Martigny. Mrs Tarditi, his ex-wife, accuses them of having undervalued the sale, in order for Mr. de Martigny to avoid paying more money for this divorce.
      – This question has not been judged yet. But as it appears Mrs. Tarditi could be right after all, the judge has suspended the current negotiations about the concession of the salle Pleyel by the Cité de la musique to a private concert producer, which would complicate the situation if the sale had to be canceled or (more probably) reevalued after all.
      – The planned concession contract has been suspended, but the clause that is supposed to forbid any classical concert or anything close (opera, baroque, chamber music, etc.) coule very well be maintained in the future. Nothing has been said today on this issue, in case the Cité de la musique remains the owner. But a least, there is still hope that either the cancelling of the sale, or the cancelling of this concession clause, could avoid this absurd interdiction to be enacted.

    • I have never been to the Salle Pleyel, but a number of people told me that it was acoustically not very good, or as NL called it, “inadequate”. Would you say that is not true, since you call it an “excellent” concert hall?

  • There is not much wrong with the refurbished Pleyel: a perfectly-good concert hall. I would say it is a damn-sight better than London’s Royal Festival Hall.

  • Since it has been refurbished (for almost a decade already…) it is clearly one of the best concert venues I know in Europe.
    Of course not all seats are excellent at Pleyel, but that’s the case in any concert hall, anyway there are no really bad locations in the whole concert hall, and I doubt the future Philharmonie will really be a great improvement on this side of things.

    The other main argument for a new concert hall was that Pleyel might be too small, but 1900 seats is not that bad, and 2400 is not that big an improvement. And 2/3 of concerts I attend at Pleyel are half empty anyway…

    • Interesting, thanks. Do you also sometimes go to concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées where the Orchestre National usually plays (or at least that is my impression)? What is that hall like? What other concert halls are there in Paris?

  • Hi! I am Carla Maria Tarditi.
    We will have a session to the tribunal the 30 of september 2016 to settle the situation of Pleyel, stay in touch or check the blog: pour le classique a pleyel .com

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