Swiss to vote on $250 million concert hall renewal

The Tonhalle in Zurich is literally falling to pieces. It needs urgent refurbishment. The gloomy public areas could easily be mistaken for the city morgue.

But before anyone puts up a scaffold, the good people of Zurich get to vote on the expenditure in a referendum. The Swiss People’s Party have come out in opposition, saying it’s far too expensive.

The vote could go either way.

Meanwhile the Tonhalle orchestra and its conductor Lionel Bringuier are out canvassing votes.

Whatever decision is made, it will be absolutely democratic.

new Zurich foyer, architect’s design

That’s how London should go about it. Of course, it bloody won’t.

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  • Hear, hear.

    The London decisions will be made behind closed doors.
    The inevitable will happen: the budget to build the new Sir Simon Rattle Concert Hall in London will turn out to be half of what it actually ends up costing.

    Then the big question has to be: who will stump up the ten millions or so annually to operate the venue? Out of whose budget will these new ten millions come? The same budget which also funds the other London orchestras? I cannot imagine the LPO and Philharmonia being overenthusiastic.

    Good for the Swiss. They are looking through these questions before the contractors start work. This is public money on a large scale.

    • “That’s how London should go about it”. Brilliant idea: but why stop at the concert hall? Let’s put all public funding of the fine arts in London to a public vote. The masses are, after all, overwhelmingly committed to classical music and opera, aren’t they? What could possibly go wrong?

  • Considering the picture of the design of a modern extension of the Tonhalle, there will be the inevitable aesthetic clash between the beautiful old hall and the quasi-functional ‘renewal’. Why is it so difficult to create extensions or refunishments in the style of the original building? Imagine the Musikverein with a modernist appendix, as they did in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw.

    The Tonhalle is one of the most beautiful concert halls of Europe:

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