Dresden gets a new concert hall | DW Travel | DW

The jubilee tunes of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie didn’t go away yet when the next sound chamber opened some 400 kilometers away as the crow flew by. The Dresden Palace of Culture, which opened in 1969, has been renovated by around €100 million over the past five years and is supposed to enable the local orchestra to finally achieve the sound that an orchestra, founded in 1870, would otherwise have on tours in Tokyo. , New York or London. The Temple of the Muses also houses the central library and the “Die Herkuleskeule” cabaret.

The fact that the “Kulti” – as Dresden residents call the palace in the Altmarkt – was more than 15 million euros more expensive than planned should ultimately remain a footnote. Frankly, the city council recently issued more and more allotments for the prestigious building. An indication of sprawling projects like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie or Berlin’s new airport makes the extra costs in Dresden seem manageable. However, in the run-up to the planned opening on Friday (April 28), this repeatedly caused conflicting voices.

Preparations for the reopening are in full swing

Klangzober must now please critics. Shortly before the reopening of the Kulturpalast, Dresden’s history and prehistory will be remembered – also in the city museum exhibit. The 60 million Ost-Mark project was the largest multi-purpose building in the GDR at that time. According to an assessment by the Saxon Academy of Arts, “the horizontally developed building, pushed against the resistance of Party dogmatism, can be understood as an unmistakable indication that the architecture of the GDR has again absorbed international developments in the post-war period”. Regardless of architectural assessments – the facade of the house is a listed building – “Kulti” has always been the home of art, not of power, for the people of Dresden.

BdT with reference to Germany Eike Stöcker Kulturpalast Dresden

The western facade of the Palace of Culture

Home to the Philharmonie, music festivals, Dixieland Festival, and the International Dance Championships, it has become a meeting place for culture lovers. Famous orchestras from all over the world have appeared as guests here, and greats from the rock, pop and jazz worlds also use the palace as a stage for their performances – whether it’s stars like Paco de Lucia, Pat Metheni, Milva, Zucchero and Bruce Springsteen or pop singers from their own country. . Even the Saint Petersburg Ice Dance Troupe regularly tours the Palace Theater.

Old town with Frauenkirche, Kulturpalast, Hofkirche, Semperoper, right of Augustusbrücke, Old Town, Frauenkirche;  Palace of Culture, Hofkirche, Semperoper and Augustusbruecke

The Semper Opera is in the back, the Frauenkirche is on the right, and the Kulturpalast is in the foreground

The huge lift platform at the rear made technically complex production operations possible. At some point, the Kulturpalast progressed to become a global political arena. Shortly before Christmas 1989, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) and GDR Prime Minister Hans Modrow held a press conference, which he welcomed here. But the ravages of time gnaw at the house more and more. After all, the fire brigade had to get to every philharmonic concert – because fire protection no longer met the standards.

Acoustic model of the concert hall at the Palace of Culture in Dresden

An acoustic model of the concert hall was displayed during the construction phase

All this is now history, also for the Philharmonic. For five years she has been on the road in various temporary places in her city. Not an easy stage for an orchestra. Dresden Philharmonic has a good reputation in the music world not only because of its history. Celebrities such as Peter Tchaikovsky and Antonin Dvorak stood at her desk. In 1909 it was the first German orchestra to tour in the USA. The Dresdners also toured the West during the GDR era and played regularly in the Far East. Dresden is keeping a similar big secret about the quality of the new sound space as the Elbphilharmonie did recently. Only a few get to the public before the opening.

Michael Sanderling

Band Leader Michael Sanderling

After the first rehearsals, chief dancer Michael Sanderling said: “The hall is overwhelming. It impresses with its warmth and acoustic security. It is a great gift for the Philharmonic and Dresden.” Looking back, the maestro’s time spent improvising in other places is a plus. “The orchestra has gained flexibility in tonal language and faster execution.”

Jörg Schorig (DPA)

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