Vilar's Partial Comeback

In the spring of 2000, only two years after its foundation, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden came close to bankruptcy. Attendance had not lived up to the expectations, and financial support from the municipal government and from the State government of Baden-Wurttemberg seemed insufficient to fill the budget gap. During that critical time, help came from America - together with four German businessmen, the New York-based capital investment consultant and cultural donor Alberto Vilar established the so-called "Cultural Trust for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden" (Kulturstiftung Festspielhaus Baden-Baden). The trust started out with a capital of 5 million deutschmarks, keeping the Festspielhaus alive. Back then, in 2000, Vilar was the music world's shooting star. Vilar himself said that he spent up to $20 million annually on culture, but eventually, he saw his wealth go down the hill - Vilar's stock in the high tech industry followed the general trend, crumbling to a fracture of its purchase value. Vilar had to realize that some of his friendships were not as deep as he had hoped. While a financial comeback seems possible, the top donor is likely to feel disillusioned, as Georg Hirsch reports.

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