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Just in: Barenboim’s state opera gets slammed for ‘wasteful, sordid’ mismanagement

The criticism comes from the powerful culture committee of the Bundestag and it is directed at the renovation costs of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. A job that was supposed to cost 243 million Euros has risen to 287.9 million. A 15 percent overspend on a job of this scale would escape notice in other countries (it certainly did on London’s South Bank), but the German authorities are rightfully watchful of the pfennigs. The terms used by culture chair Monika Grütters were ‘Missmanagement’ and ‘schäbigen Geschichte’.

What happens next is unclear, but a token head or two may roll.

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  1. Slightly misleading headline…….. the delays and problems related to the opera house renovation is nothing to do with the the excellent team running the day to day administration of the company itself………

  2. I wonder how much of the unforeseen expenses are actually “Altlasten” left over from the days of the former GDR (=East Germany)?

  3. Well, I actually wonder indeed why an overspend of only 15% is causing such reactions. That’s less than the usual margin in large-scale projects here in Germany, too.

    I suppose you heard about the Berlin airport or the Stuttgart railway station, not to mention the Hamburg concert hall.

  4. I recall that this past June a test BAMS-D drone crashed in a Maryland swamp. Cost of the fallen “humpty dumpty”? Somewhere between $173 million and $186 million. Last year the German Bundestag’s Office of Technology Assessment issued a 280 page report endorsing Germany’s investment in drone technology as the weapon of choice for the future. So, why is Germany complaining about this cost overrun when it is contemplating a massive investment in new agents of death, which everyone knows will be rife with much greater cost overruns, and over which its military industry will be salivating? Make music (…..and love)…. not war.

  5. Michael Hurshell says:

    Shouldn’t cause such a fuss really. Look at the original vs. current budget of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg… I think it started at around 300 million, and recently passed the 10 figures mark. – Berlin becomes fussy at intervals, though.

  6. Michael Hurshell says:

    P.S. “Schäbige Geschichte” doesn’t really translate as “sordid” – more like “shabby goings on.” Or maybe… “sleazy.”

  7. They should think themselves lucky that the Scottish Government wasn’t in charge of the project. Original budget for the Scottish Parliament Building – £40M; final cost – $414M. A 15% overspend is small fry, even in Germany.

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