After what seemed like an endless stream of delays, budget transgressions and lawsuits, Hamburg's much-awaited Elbphilharmonie concert hall's plaza opens Saturday. The hall itself won't open until January 11, 2017.
"After a difficult start, all of the people involved in the project have done a great job," said Hamburg First Mayor Olaf Scholz at the opening of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall's plaza on Friday. A "difficult start" sounds like a profound understatement - just as all that has had to do with the Elbphilharmonie, turning from a molehill into mountain.
The plaza is located at a height of 37 meters (121 feet) between the historic brick base and the spectacular new glass construction. The plaza will open its doors to the general public on Saturday.
From the opening events this weekend through December 4, visitors can experience "The Ship," a walk-in sound installation by musician and producer Brian Eno. Choreographer Sasha Waltz and her ensemble will take visitors on a musical discovery tour of the foyer space from January 1-4, 2017. A gala concert on January. 11 will mark the official opening of the so-called Großer Saal, the main concert hall.
But the greatest excitement is likely yet to come: the acoustics in the Elbphilharmonie's main hall have been lauded as among the top 10 in the world, but past experience with new concert hall construction has shown that it's impossible to predict just how majestic the sound will be ahead of time.