According to a sample from the German Press Agency, the music industry, which has been hit by the corona pandemic, is optimistic about the coming year.

According to this, the majority of the concert organizers and opera houses surveyed in Hesse are confident that the audience will increasingly visit the performances again.

However, cultural managers estimate that a real return to normality will not take place for two to three years at the earliest.

"I think it's going to be a long way before we're back to pre-pandemic utilization levels.

This way back will probably not necessarily be straight," suspects hr music director Michael Traub, who is responsible, among other things, for the nationwide concerts of the hr symphony orchestra and the hr big band.

“We believe it will take longer for things to return to normal.

Three to five years, if all factors interact well, sounds realistic to us,” agrees the Managing Director of BB Promotion GmbH, Matthias Mantel.

The Mannheim-based company organizes international theatre, dance and concert productions as well as musical tours - for example in the Alte Oper Frankfurt.

New productions are almost sold out

Its director Markus Fein also says that public interest is growing noticeably month by month.

"Of course, it is also true that we are not all in the cultural sector where we were," he says.

Corona was “out of the focus of the media, visitors are gaining confidence again and no longer have to expect lockdowns, the thirst for live events is great”.

The numbers seem to strengthen hopes: For example, the Frankfurt Opera expects an occupancy rate of around 80 percent for the period from November 2022 to February 2023 - and thus only ten percentage points less than between November 2019 and February 2020. "We are pleased to note that that, for example, our new productions in the above period are almost sold out this season and we have therefore reached the level before Corona again," says their director Bernd Loebe.

Other organizers have also registered a recent significant increase in public interest.

"We got off to a brilliant start in the 2022/2023 season with both the Wiesbaden master concerts and the Pro Arte Frankfurt concert series with sold-out concerts," report Pro Arte Frankfurter Konzertdirektion GmbH and Wiesbaden Musik GmbH of music manager Michael Herrmann, who also runs the Rheingau music festival directs.

Herrmann speaks of a "very positive development after the last two challenging years".

Very small organizers - such as the Frankfurter Bürgerstiftung, which offers concerts in the Holzhausenschlösschen in the center of Hesse's largest city - are even more optimistic.

"Our events are currently at least as well attended as before Corona, for example all five concerts with the Aris Quartet were sold out," enthuses the managing director of the foundation, Clemens Greve.

The children's concert readings are also sold out until January.

But even if there are signs of a return, according to the organizers, Corona has left its mark in a completely different way: "What has changed is the buying behavior.

The number of subscribers has not yet returned to the old level, but more tickets are being sold in advance,” reports Loebe.

"People are booking much more quickly at the moment," says Traub.

A change that needs to be addressed.