ABOUT THE PROJECT
In Wagner’s time, three genres were prevalent in the theater: opera (including the operetta, the light opera), drama and ballet. A few small concerts also took place. After the renovation of Wagner Hall, it will be ready to host a variety of cultural events:
- The small forms of musical theater (e.g., Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill’s musical plays; musicals; experimental musical productions; operettas; productions of early (baroque, renaissance) operas;
- Theatrical concerts (not one small concert venue in Riga has the possibility to adjust its stage for theater);
- Small forms of drama (from monologue to pantomime);
- Concerts of chamber music and particularly early music, to which the historical hall will lend a special aura;
- Rehearsals of various musical ensembles.
RENOVATION OF THE BUILDING
The current project is conceptually based on four elements: the renovated building itself; the baroque concert hall and 19th century ballroom; and museum/exhibition. Only the combination of the above can become a brand-forming cultural product that will elicit an enthusiastic response from visitors. It is this combination that will allow the renovated Wagner House to compete with other museums and concert halls in Latvia, Northern Europe and Europe, and enrich the opportunities of residents and visitors to Latvia to enjoy quality culture and justify the resources that went into the renovation.
The museum or exhibition in the Wagner House should be considered a medium, which would be capable of transmitting the message of the meaning of the renovation to the would-be visitor. The relationship between the historical building, the personality of Richard Wagner and the musical life of baroque Riga and the rest of Europe will resonate with the culturally motivated visitor. The museum/exhibition will be the element which will contextualize the historical sources of the period — objects and/or documents from Latvian museums and libraries that have not been previously exhibited or have not been on permanent display.
The technical condition of the building is unsatisfactory: cracks in the walls have appeared because of the settling of the foundation and it is necessary to reinforce the foundation, repair the ceiling and renovate the utilities. A full cosmetic renovation and restoration of the historical elements is in order.
With the renovation of Wagner Hall several crucial gains would be made that would not only promote variety of the cultural scene and its accessibility to the residents of Latvia, reinforce the image of Riga and Latvia as an East European cultural center and its ties to Richard Wagner, but would also bring inflows of revenue that, over a period of time, would allow the invested financing to be recovered and ensure the sustainability of the project.
The most important benefits:
- Renovation of the only acoustically sound chamber music hall in Riga;
- Preservation and modernization of an architecturally important building and accessibility of a venue of cultural and historical significance for the public;
- The possibility of granting space on advantageous commercial terms to the most important cultural structural units: the chamber orchestra “Kremerata Baltica”, State Academic choir “Latvija” and VAS “Latvijas Koncerti”;
- The possibility of establishing a Richard Wagner museum;
- The possibility of co-operation with European Richard Wagner societies.
Sketches for the reconstruction of Wagner’s house by the design company “Zaigas Gailes birojs”.
Authors: arch. Zaiga Gaile, arch. Filips Pitens