Nabucco at the Konstabler Wache

At first glance, the Konstabler Wache in downtown Frankfurt might seem like an unpromising venue for an open-air opera performance. This is one of the least distinguished public squares in Europe, if not the world, and is bounded on one side by a busy street with bus, tram and automobile traffic.

Audience at the Konstabler Wache, 2004

At second, third and fourth glance it doesn’t get any better.

I never realized how many low-flying aircraft there are over Frankfurt until having them as ambient noise during the opera Nabucco, by Giuseppe Verdi. Police and ambulance sirens (the typical German ta-ti-ta-ta) helped to fill any odd silence that might have ensued, as did groups of drunken pub-crawlers outside the fence.

Seating for Nabucco at the Konstabler Wache, 2004

All this didn’t stop the promoters from selling some 1500 tickets (my estimate) at premium prices. The cheapest seats cost EUR 30, which was roughly three times the cost of the cheapest seats at the Frankfurt Opera that year, 2004, on a Thursday night. Despite its obvious disadvantages, the Konstabler Wache is after all highly accessible by public transport, and Nabucco is a very popular opera.

The orchestra, chorus and singers were from the Silesian State Opera in Bytom, Poland.

Nabucco stage at the Konstabler Wache

As a spoiled Frankfurt opera goer, I try not to get arrogant or overly critical in this sort of situation, but I’m afraid the orchestra and conductor were quite awful and the chorus was just so-so. Fortunately the main singers were OK — not outstanding, but at least they were competent professionals doing what they were getting paid to do and bringing it off reasonably well.

Other plus points:

  • It was a beautiful summer evening.
  • Some of my friends were there.
  • We had some beers.
  • Verdi’s music is so brilliant that nothing can drag it down.

My photos in this post are from 2004. I revised the text in 2021.

See more posts on Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
See also: Operas by Giuseppe Verdi
and Verdi’s Nabucco in Mönchengladbach.

11 thoughts on “Nabucco at the Konstabler Wache”

  1. I can’t imagine that the cons of this opera venue weren’t consistently felt by most audience members!

    I did however like the pros you shared at the end ❣️❣️

    And I agree, listening to Verdi can make anything pleasant ❤️🤗

    1. No, I’ve never been to the Terme di Caracalla. The only open-air Aida I’ve seen was at Verona in 2006, but I’ve seen a number of indoor productions in Ulm, Wiesbaden, Prague, Berlin and Essen. (But not in Frankfurt, unfortunately, since their planned new production had to be cancelled because of the corona pandemic.)

  2. We’ve flown over Frankfurt and transferred planes there but never managed to visit the city. If we can ever travel again, perhaps . . .

    We’ve played quite a few outdoor operas and concerts and ambient noise can be pretty amusing (and distracting) at times. Skateboards are my pet peeve. Really noisy, but then I’ve never had to deal with planes flying over.

    1. Diese Aufführung 2004 war ein einmaliger Versuch. Seitdem gibt es keine Freiluft-Opernaufführungen mitten in der Innenstadt, wohl aber im Palmengarten.

    1. Thanks for your visit and nice comment. One of the few advantages of the pandemic is that we have had somewhat less air traffic for the past year.

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