They’re planning a Sydney Opera House in … Düsseldorf

They’re planning a Sydney Opera House in … Düsseldorf


norman lebrecht

February 23, 2019

This is one of the shortlisted plans for a new opera house on the Rhine.

Recognise those waterside approaches? The shell shape?

© RKW, Visualization: Anton Kolev

The cost estimate is 280 million Euros, a fashionable number to pluck out of the air.


  • Peter says:

    Per one of my favourite comedy sketches …

    “You’ve been gone five years, Geoff! I’ve moved on. I’m married to Barry. I’ve got a new family now.”

    “You don’t understand, I got us a free weekend for two to Düsseldorf! They’re going to pick us up from the airport.”

    “There’s nothing there, Geoff. It’s just a German town.”

    • Syntheseclown says:

      Nothing? It´s the cutest little metropole in the world, but my views may be biased 😀 Greetings from Düsseldorf

  • Meal says:

    The Major of Duesseldorf already told media that he is against such a new opera building. He wants the old one to be refurbished.

  • anon says:

    Seems to be the trend now, an opera house / concert hall on a river (see Hamburg).

    But hey, with global warming, all concert halls and opera houses will soon be on a river (see Houston floods).

    Germany needs another opera house like Britain needs another border.

  • Marg says:

    The Kansas City Kaufmann Centre for the Performing Arts is incredibly similar to the Syd Opera House in design. Just isnt near water. But has a fabulous opera/concert hall with superb acoustics

  • Lausitzer says:

    Rejected by mayor Thomas Geisel, saying that pursuing such a project would be “upstart behaviour” and moving to another location is no option at all.

    These visions (there are more such drafts) were prompted by the cost estimate for the necessary renovation of the existing building: 100 million.

  • Viola da Bracchio says:

    Some folk just don’t know when they’re well off?

    The Oper-am-Rhein gets juicy subsidies to divide its opera and ballet acvities between two cities – Dusseldorf, and Duisburg. In affluent Dusseldorf. the Opera Theatre sits on Heinrich Heine Allee, slap in the centre of town. Directly behind the theatre is the flowery park of the Hofgarten – with ducks, swans, and an idyllic landscape that gives Glyndebourne a run for its money. Across the road begins the pedestrianised sector of the Old Quarter – for anyone inclined towards artisanal hand-made bonbons. A mere gavotte away is the leafy boulevard of Königsallee – allegedly the most affluent retail space in Germany. Following extensive rebuilding work, the theatre is excellently equipped, and is well patronised.

    But what of Duisburg? The opera theatre sits like an ugly duckling, at the epicentre of a gloomy concrete shopping precinct. “Everything For One Euro” shops line the sections of the precinct which haven’t been boarded up.

    The Opera does a fair-enough job of dividing its goodies – along with rehearsals – between the two centres. But the contrast between their economic circumstances is staggering. There are performances at both houses (with two orchestral line-ups) on any average evening.

    If the regional government has cash to splash, then it’s Duisburg, and not Dusseldorf, which really deserves the investment? Strangely enough we don’t see Mutti Merkel or Herr Steinmayer gladhanding it in Duisburg, or inviting Germany’s international guests there.

    Or perhaps…. this new riverside opera theatre is the first step towards setting Duisburg adrift in an open boat, to fend for itself?

    • Nick2 says:

      Sorry but I find no resemblance to Sydney whatever! Those hat-like rims are in no way similar to Jorn Utzon’s shell shapes. Whatever, Utzon’s design is one the the 20th century’s great iconic buildings. Sadly it houses a lousy concert hall and an even worse opera house!