"Opera and Protest in Stuttgart" Top 5 Page for this destination Stuttgart by Nemorino

Stuttgart Travel Guide: 618 reviews and 1,615 photos

Foyer of the Stuttgart Opera House

The State Opera in Stuttgart used to have a great reputation for high quality, innovative opera productions. It was voted “Opera House of the Year” in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2006. (The Frankfurt Opera got this title for 2003.)

I have seen quite a few operas in Stuttgart, including L'italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algeria) by Gioacchino Rossini, The Coronation of Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi, Christof Nel's production of Die Walküre by Richard Wagner (with the then-unknown Eva-Maria Westbroek in the small role of Gerhilde), Peter Konwitschny's powerful staging of Elektra by Richard Strauss (with Renée Morloc, Susan Bullock, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Frank van Aken) and Doktor Faust by the German/Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni (with Gerd Grochowski, Johannes Martin Kränzle and Hope Briggs).

Update October 2010: When I first started this Stuttgart page in 2004 I included two tips on an idiotic project called "Stuttgart 21" which was intended to replace the city's well-functioning central railroad station with 33 kilometers of tunnels leading to a slanting underground mini-station, so as to free up many acres of urban real estate for profitable new office buildings and luxury apartment blocks.

My two tips on "Stuttgart 21" were this one in the category of Transportation and this one under Warnings or Dangers.

At the time I wrote: "Fortunately there is little danger that this hare-brained scheme will actually be implemented, mainly because it would cost millions of Euros that nobody has in their budget."

Little did I know that six years later this project would turn into one of the hottest political issues of 2010, not only in Stuttgart but throughout Germany. The political establishment was still determined to go through with the project no matter what the cost. And a large cross-section of the population was determined to prevent it. Thousands of people of all ages and political persuasions took to the streets of Stuttgart several times weekly to demonstrate against the project, and many thousands more joined them in October 2010 when the authorities started demolishing one wing of the railroad station and cutting down dozens of century-old trees in the adjoining castle park.

I have left my two tips on "Stuttgart 21" unchanged.

Update July 2011: This has been a turbulent year in Stuttgart, with state elections that swept the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) out of power for the first time in decades and installed a member of the Greens party as state governor (Ministerpräsident) for the first time ever.

The conflict over the "Stuttgart 21" project is still raging, however, because the federal government and the German Railway managers are determined to go through with it, no matter what. And thousands of people in Stuttgart are still determined to prevent it, now with the support of the governor and parts (but only parts) of the state government.

On July 9, 2011, I went down to Stuttgart by train to take part in a large demonstration against "Stuttgart 21". I took some photos, of course, and have made seven new Local Customs tips for the benefit of those of you who might visit Stuttgart and would like to know what the frequent demonstrations are about.

  • Last visit to Stuttgart: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 18, 2013
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Reviews (41)

Comments (40)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    The Stuttgard 21 sounds to be an awful project and I can understand that there has been massive protests against it. Just saw on Wikipedia that in March 2013 the total cost of the project is estimated to 6.5 billion Euros.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Jun 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      Thanks, Malena. Yes, Stuttgart 21 is a really awful project and the costs keep going up and up. The worst thing is that the tracks will be on a slant – one end of the platforms will be six meters higher than the other end. This is why the train drivers’ union is totally opposed to the project.

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    No wonder the demonstrations in Stuttgart reminded you of Berkley! I too remember those days. Thanks for the memories Don!

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    Interesting page. I visited here long ago. had never heard of Stuttgart 21. Will visit again briefly this summer. Irene

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      May 5, 2013 at 6:21 AM

      Thanks for having a look at my Stuttgart tips. I hope you have a good visit to that city this summer. Tomorrow, May 6, they will hold the 171st Monday Evening Demonstration against Stuttgart 21.

  • csordila's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    I visited here several times, but a long time ago! L.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Can't believe I'd never visited your Stuttgart page before now! Your new tips about the deomonstrations are very enlightening - I wasn't aware of this issue, but it seems sacrilege to cut down those old trees especially.
    Elsewhere on your very informative page, I really liked the Opera House building, especially the ceiling with the constellations and the new glass dome (I love sucha mix of old and new!) And interesting to see how the Hegel House have exposed that square of the previous wall, as we have done the same in our own kitchen!!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Don, great local custom tips about the Stuttgart21 demonstrations.

  • MD2nd's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Amazing details & photos! Interesting to learn what's goin' on in Stuttgart, and what the demonstrations are about. Thank you for sharing!

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    Railways are also a problem in Belgium. Petty crime in the stations and the trains, frequent technical defects and multiple strikes.

  • german_eagle's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Can only repeat my comment on Stuttgart 21: It's a total nonsense. Glad you were among the protesters. I would have joined if I lived closer.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    I really like the sound of the Landesmuseum! You brought a smile with your description of "moles & rats!" Nice pages


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