It looks like not only will the cost of renovating the Opera house double, but it will be closed for years to come. The management of the Opera house does not support the plan.
No one argued that the Opera house needed to be renovated. Not only did the aged gilding, the worn down restrooms, or the cracks in the Lotz-frescoes need some refreshing, but the creaking, sometimes stopping stage technology required to be changed as well. The uniting of the costume storage and the storage of the half dozen rented decorations needed to be solved as well as the placement of the 11, often windowless workshops, reported hvg.hu.
Szilveszter Ókovács, the director, dreamed big, and six years ago had planned to solve the latter first. At the end of 2014, he got the most beautiful building of MÁV’s Northern Vehicle Repair on Kőbánya road, the 25 square meters, five boat hall which was designed by Eiffel Offices. The storages would move there, and a rehearsal stage would be built, which would have partially replaced the Opera house while it was undergoing renovations. The planned cost of the two projects combined did not reach 20 billion forints ( around €61,379,215) in 2013.
But of course, it did not go as planned. In two years’ time, the cost was already nearing 28 billion forints (€85,938,875), and by 2018, they were calculating 30 billion (€92,077,366) just for the Opera house.
And now, it looks like additional billions are needed for the project. From government sources, HVG knows that next week, two proposals will be presented to the Cabinet. One of them calculates with an 11 billion forint (€33,766,545) extra costs, and with a 2020 reopening. This includes the renovations of the Lotz-frescoes and the other monuments. But the government is also in negotiations for a much bigger plan that would cost between 23-24 billion forints (€70,604,517-73,674,280), in which the facade statues are included to be renewed as well, and a museum would also be established.
The Eiffel-hall is still not ready, but the budget has gone up to 17.5 billion forints (€53,730,393). That is why the government is also negotiating the Eiffel’s case. Two versions will be presented to Viktor Orbán in this case, too. According to one of them, 3-4 billion forints (€9,210,409-12,280,545) is necessary to finish everything up, and if the government chooses this, the Opera will be able to use the Eiffel in a year. But there is also a plan B – which would cost an additional 10 billion (€30,701,364), the Opera house is rooting for this version. This would include a complete utility replacement, and even a music school would get a place.
This way, the original 20-billion-forint (€61,379,215) plan, about tripled by now, and who knows where it will stop. And there is no clear answer as to when the institution will reopen, either.
Read about Hungary’s most beautiful buildings, including the Opera house HERE.