‘We lost 6,000 subscribers in Covid’

‘We lost 6,000 subscribers in Covid’


norman lebrecht

December 03, 2021

Bernd Loebe, Intendant of the Oper Frankfurt, has written to the state president asking for theatres to be exempted from the new restrictions on gatherings in public places.

‘Closing the theatre would have devastating consequences,” said Loebe in his letter. ‘Last time we were closed we lost 6,000 subscription holders and this would grow. This means that the opera is losing an crucially fundamental reason for its existence, a solid customer base which forms the basis for its financing.’

I’m not sure the crisis has been stated before in such bleak terms.



  • Frank says:

    This is bleak, but also very likely true. What will be left for those who are left once the mass deaths are finally past? No end in sight yet! Particularly in Germania

  • Brettermeier says:

    “we lost 6,000 subscription holders”

    “I’m not sure the crisis has been stated before in such bleak terms.”

    Erm. Okay!

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    Surely the Intendant means that there are now 6,000 fewer subscription holders than in 19-20, not that 6,000 subscribers have died with Covid-19?

    Presumably, most non-renewaks were due to hesitancy to return? And such hesitancy would surely be reinforced by remaining open during a further wave of infections?

  • Tiredofitall says:

    “I’m not sure the crisis has been stated before in such bleak terms.”

    Except maybe every single day?

    Confirmed cases:



  • Paul Barte says:

    I don’t see anything on the Oper Frankfurt website about cancellations and I have a ticket for an upcoming performance. No email communication from them either. What’s the scoop? Tickets for upcoming performances appear available, too.

  • Michael P McGrath says:

    I’ve read the complete letter Mr Loebe sent to Hesse’s governor Bouffier. He is his usual eloquent, spot-on self: The financial foundation of a symphony orchestra, an opera house, a newspaper, a blog, is its subscriber base. Corona has scared people off, eaten away at their pre-corona appetite for evenings out and movies and the performing arts in particular. Frankfurt Opera, if closed again, is in danger of losing further bits of its financial foundation. Whether the state, once we return to ‘normal,’ will then make the organisation financially whole again, fill the gap, is highly unlikely. Raising ticket prices will scare even more people off… cutting the salaries of performers will compromised quality which loses further audience members and threatens the house’s international reputation… This has been made clear by numerous arts leaders in the past 2 years. That Mr Loebe captures the drama so succinctly and dramatically is perhaps new. The virus eats steadily away at what we once took for granted: the arts. Might I suggest: We should all make a single or recurring donation to our local arts groups. If we audience members sit idly by, we risk destruction of a most valuable societal and personal asset.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It is the responsibility of the state to keep cultural institutions afloat. And certainly in Germany. Because they are part of the nation’s identity.

  • Other than wanting the customers, what would be there reason for giving theaters an exemption from COVID restrictions that other gatherings don’t have?