How much to renew an opera house? 570 million Euros…

How much to renew an opera house? 570 million Euros…


norman lebrecht

July 04, 2017

The city of Cologne thought it was spending 250 million on redoing its opera house for the 21st century.

Well, the costs have spiralled. The latest estimate is 540 to 570 million Euros and the house won’t open before 2022 at the earliest.

The mayor is calling it a disaster.

Oh dear, Cologne.



  • Mike Schachter says:

    Disaster seems a mild understatement, and who thinks that 570 million will be the final figure? But of course no-one will be accountable/ Clearly when it comes to wasting public money we still have something to learn from our German friends. There is also the new Berlin airport in the same vein.

    • Max Grimm says:

      Forget about the airport fiasco, Berlin has its own opera house in exactly the same vein…..the Staatsoper Unter den Linden.
      The renovation was estimated to cost ~ €235 mio., with work beginning in 2010 and the reopening scheduled for the fall of 2013. Well, it’s 2017 now, the renovation is still not completed and the costs have grown to just shy of €500 mio.

      • Max Grimm says:

        Indeed. If the city’s and the engineer’s current timeline holds true, the house will reopen with a special concert in October and regular day-to-day operations will resume sometime in December this year.

      • Dirk F says:

        There is, actually, a very simple reason why this happens in Germany: Public money will always be spent on the cheapest offer. So, all contractors etc. generate a quotation that everyone knows is unrealistically low, simply to outbid the competition. Once a budget is granted, costs will start to add up – which was to be expected. People are not stupid, the system is.

  • NYMike says:

    The redo of Lincoln Center’s Geffen Hall née Philharmonic Hall originally pegged at $500 million is estimated to come close to or top $1billion before it comes to fruition – if it ever does.

    • Olassus says:

      The Trump Organization has a reputation for good project management — execution, cost containment, working with the unions — in Manhattan.