Reopening of Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium Faces Delay

Israel Philharmonic mulls postponing its return to its revamped home by a few weeks.

Haggai Hitron
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Haggai Hitron

The management of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will decide soon whether to postpone its return to the Mann Auditorium ‏(Heichal Hatarbut‏) in Tel Aviv by a few weeks.

The orchestra was scheduled to return to the refurbished auditorium at the beginning of April after major renovations were completed.

The contractor renovating the Mann Auditorium promised conductor Zubin Mehta, the Philharmonic’s Music Director, that the building project would be completed by March 20, said Yehoshua Pasternak, a member of the orchestra’s board of directors.

The contractor promised the board of directors that everything that is required to hold concerts would be completed by that date. However, Pasternak explained that the external finishing touches to the building would not be completed by then.

It is possible that the final approval for occupying the building will be delayed, he said, noting that such delays are considered routine for a project of this size.

To prepare for that possibility, the Philharmonic is considering postponing its return to the auditorium by a few weeks, and continuing to perform in the Smolarz Auditorium at Tel Aviv University until then.

The scope of the renovations, which began in August 2011, was the focus of a lengthy public battle. The purpose of the complicated facelift is to change the acoustics in the hall, in order to improve the audience’s experience and ease the intense pressure on the musicians.

The new auditorium will have 2,400 seats, compared to 2,700 in the original configuration, but there will be more space between rows.

The Mann Auditorium at Heichal Hatarbut Credit: Daniel Tchetchik