The Oper Frankfurt must be among the most pluralistic and "democratic" Opera Houses in Europe. With ticket prices that don't exceed the 130 euros (the usual max price being 77 euros though) , with an auditorium of good to great acoustics, featuring one of the best orchestras in Germany -and I can testify about that- and with a casual approach towards opera-going (nothing elite, no posh at all) the Frankfurters hardly have an excuse for not attending performances often.
The Oper Frankfurt in the daylight
The first contact with the House itself is a bit disappointing, the building of the Oper Frankfurt is designed based on simple lines, glass and metal are the main materials, in a building reminiscent of the Alte Oper in a more minimal and modern way, nothing fancy or extravagant and the foyers are more like airport waiting-lounges, with the exception of the main 2nd floor lounge with a cute restaurant and nice views to the Willy-Brandt Platz. However this lack of "glamour" (always in comparison to other European houses) is absolutely in contrast with the very high level of the performances.
The Frankfurt Oper has received the title of Opera House of the Year in 1995, 1996 and 2003 and in the past, legends such as Christoph von Dohnányi, Lovro von Matačić, Sir Georg Solti, Clemens Krauss carried the title of the House's Generalmusicaldirektor.
The Oper Restaurant
Sir Georg Solti
Tickets are quite easy to find and can be purchased online or from the box-office, the prices are low (prices as aforesaid from 9 to 130 euros or even less for older or not very popular productions) and the visibility must be great even from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd balcony.
The amazing Krassimira Stoyanova in a liederabend, January 2010
So, there I was, on my first visit to the Oper Frankfurt (wearing jeans and sneakers if I may add), discovering some simple joys that I had forgotten -bying a printed program for 4 euros, a glass of white wine with a pretzel for 7 euros and an Entführung DVD - the Frankfurt production with La Damrau- for just 15 euros. You gotta love this Opera House!
The lights went off, the conductor stepped on the podium and the first battute of Puccini's much-loved opera sounded...