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Staatsoper Unter den Linden
This venerable opera house has been the scene of some very lively and innovative productions in recent years, for instance Rinaldo by Georg Friedrich Haendel (1685-1759).
This production was not only hilarious, it was also carefully timed so the gags and the slapstick fit in very well (I thought) with Haendel's music. All the singers seemed to be having a great time performing it, especially Miah Persson as Almirena. It was voted Production of the Year by the critics of Opernwelt Magazine in 2003, and the cast recording was voted CD of the Year.
While everybody seems proud of the recording (I'm listening to Miah sing Lascia ch'io pianga from the second act as I write this), the production remains controversial even internally. One of the people involved later told me she couldn't understand why all those critics voted for such a stupid production. "Those must all be people with no taste." Can't say I was terribly flattered, since I liked the production so much myself. (LOL)
Update: Currently, i.e. from 2010 to 2015 or longer, the State Opera House is a construction site because they are doing some badly needed restoration and repair work on it. During this time the State Opera Company is performing in the old Schiller Theater in the Bismarckstraße, in the (West) Berlin district of Charlottenburg. What this means is that for three seasons there are two major opera houses in the Bismarckstraße, within three blocks of each other!
- Theater Travel
For Mercedes Benz-fans
We just happened to notice old cars through the window and went in. It is free to visit, and you can see Mercedes cars from many ages. Also many MB-accesories sold in here.
We only watched the oldest cars at the street lewel, and didn´t go upstairs. We are not so much MB-fans anyway ;) But we do like old cars. Especially my husband.
And as I said, it is free to visit.
- Historical Travel
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At the State Opera House "Unter den Linden"
On my most recent visit to the State Opera Unter den Linden I saw the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835).
This is a bel canto opera, and the singing really is beautiful but the plot is often criticized. It takes place in ancient Gaul under the Roman occupation, and you keep expecting Asterix and Obelix to pop up from behind the bushes at any minute. Norma is the head priestess of the Gauls, but she is secretly in love with the Roman governor and has even borne him two children. (We are asked to believe that nobody in the small Gallic village has noticed this.)
I found the Berlin production quite moving, though, because they stressed the one aspect of the plot that is (unfortunately) timeless, namely the plight of an older woman whose lover (and father of her children) decides to leave her for a younger woman (in this case a younger priestess at the same temple).
Update: As I have mentioned elsewhere, the State Opera House is currently a construction site because they are doing some badly needed restoration and repair work on it. During this time the State Opera Company is performing in the old Schiller Theater in the Bismarckstraße, in the (West) Berlin district of Charlottenburg.
- Theater Travel
Kronprinzpalais (The Crown Prince Palace) was the residence of the heir to the throne, right up to the abolition of the monarchy. The palace was built the mid-17th century in Baroque style but later on modified in neo-Classical style. Master builder Heinrich Gentz linked the Kronprinzpalais with the connection to the neighboring Prinzenpalais. William the second, Germany's last emperor was born here in 1859.
Works on Unter den Linden.
Presently (till July 2013?) on a large part of the avenue the Linden - lime trees - have been replaced by cranes. These works extend on both sides of the Friedrichstasse cross-road disfiguring the Unter den Linden avenue.
A consequence of these works is that the Metro line U6 does not ride between the Friedrichstr. and Französichestr. stations.
The statue of Frederick the Great (Reiterdenkmal Friedrichs des Grossen) sits in pride of place on the central reservation of Berlin's popular tree-lined boulevard, Unter den Linden. The statue itself is set in bronze and depicts Frederick the Great on horseback. It was created in 1839-51 by a protege of Gottfried von Schadow called Christian Daniel Rauch.
Sadly the area around the statue was a bit of a building site when I visited so many of my photos reflect this. Nevertheless, you can't miss taking a look at this huge statue as you walk from Museum Island towards the Brandenburg Gate.
- Arts and Culture
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UNTER DEN LINDEN
Unter den Linden is Berlin's spectacular, wide, tree-lined avenue that forms the hub of Old Berlin. The avenue leads through the centre of the city from Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate to the Lustgarten. Along its pavements lie many imperial buildings including the Opera House, Humboldt university, the Academic Library, St. Hedwig's cathedral, the Berliner Dom. Many of the buildings were designed by the famous German architect Karl Schinkel. According to its name, the street is lined with linden trees that Hitler ordered to be chopped down so that the road could be widened during the Second World War. Many buildings were destroyed during allied bombing but Unter den Linden has been gradually restored to its former glory.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Staatsoper was commissioned by King Frederick II of Prussia in 1741, designed and built by Georg von Knobelsdorff as the first and the oldiest structure on Babelplatz. At that time it was called Hofoper (Court Opera) and was inaugurated with the performance Cesare e Cleopatra in 1742. After the collapse of the German Empire in 1919 the opera was renamed Staatsoper.
After Nazis takeover, members of Jewish origins were dismissed from the ensemble. Many German musicians associated with the opera went into exile too. It is less known fact that great Herbert von Karajan was one of staatskapellmaster during the Thied Reich.
After WW II the opera was reconstructed in its Baroque form and reopened in 1955.
Zeghaus (the old armory) is the oldest structure on the Unter den Linden, built between 1695 and 1730 in the Baroque style and by four different architects. The commissionar was Brandenburg Elector Frederick III. In 1875 this magnificent building was transformed into a Military Museum. There excist an interesting episode regarding this museum.
In 1943 Hitler visited museum in order to inspect captured Russian war material. Rudolf von Gersdorff was to give Hitler a tour of the armory. Gersdorff declared himself ready to give his life for Germany, and his friends knew about such a decision. He set off two 5-minutes delayed-fuse hand granades in the pocket of his coat. His plan was to trow himself around Hitler in a death embrace that would blow up both men. Contrary to expectation, however, Hitler raced through the museum and survived. Von Gersdorff survived the War and died in 1980.
Today Zeughaus is a home of Deutches Historiches Museum, offering on his 8.000 square metres The Permanent Exibition of German History in Images and Artefacts.
Reiterdenkmal Friedrichs des Grossen
The equestrian monument of Frederick the Great, coloqially called "alte Fritz" (the old Fred) is situated at the beginning of Unter den Linden Bulevard and is among the grandest monuments in the city of Berlin. This monument was prepared nearly 70 years by 40 different artists and over 100 designes to determine its final plan. Fridrichs des Grossen is most famous and the most important king of Prussia who reigned from 1740 to 1786. The final design of the monument was made by Christian Daniel Rausch in 1839. It is 13,5 meter high and made of bronze and wondefully ornated. The king sits atop Conde, his favorite horse, and dressed in coronation robes. The pedestal is emblazoned with the 60 men who were the leading figures in Germany around mid of the 19th century.
At each corner of the pedestal are four calvary commanders, while at the same level are 21 statues of the most outstanding generals of Friedrich's army, as well as the leading figures in politics, art and science.
Under the linden trees
In 1985 I stood on the western side of the Brandenburg Gate and peered across the Wall and No Man’s Land, through its arches to what was at one time the most elegant street in the city, Unter den Linden. With its western extension, Straße des 17. Juni, it forms the same sort of classically symmetrical urban vista as Paris’s Champs Elysées, with the golden gleam of the Siegesaule (Victory Column) at one end, the Brandenburg Gate as its mid-point and distant views of the Berliner Dom (cathedral) in the east. But in 1985 it was difficult to see this view properly, and impossible to walk its length. Not so today; with reunification the boulevard has rediscovered its former glory and once again forms the central spine of the city.
Unter den Linden takes its name from the linden or lime trees that were first planted there in 1647. Duke Friedrich Wilhelm, also known as The Great Elector, was dedicated to the development and beautification of Berlin during his reign and ordered the planting of long rows of Linden trees to spruce up the route from his castle home to the Tiergarten hunting ground, and to keep the route more shady and comfortable for his travels. Thus his carriage ride took him "unter den linden", that is “under the lindens”. Lime trees still line the central paved strip, although of course they are not those that Friedrich planted there. Many will have been replaced over the years, and in the 1930s many were cut down when a tunnel for the S-bahn was constructed beneath the road. Those that remained were used for firewood in the last days of World War Two, when the city was under siege. The ones we see today were planted in the 1950s, restoring the character of this famous avenue.
A stroll “under the lindens” will take you past many of Berlin’s grand buildings, including the Berlin State Opera, Humboldt University, St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, the Neue Wache (once the guardhouse for the royal guards and now the National Memorial to the Victims of War and Tyranny), the Zeughaus (German Historical Museum), and the Altes Palais.
- Historical Travel
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden is Berlin's loveliest boulevard and the heart of historical Berlin (Mitte). It extends from Pariser Platz, at the Brandenburg Gate, to the Schlossbrucke bridge, a distance of about 1.5km.
It is named for the linden or lime trees which line the grassed pedestrian area between the two carriageways. During the last days of World War II most of the trees were destroyed or cut down for firewood. The trees were replanted in the 1950s and have flourished ever since.
There are many interesting buildings along Unter den Linden (their street number is in brackets below). You can visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which is Germany's largest history museum. It is housed in the Zeughaus (2), which was the royal arsenal building built in 1706.
Also you can see the Russian Embassy (63-65), built in typical Stalin-style; the Deutsche Guggenheim (13-15) with its contemporary art exhibitions; the Alte Staatsbibliothek - Old National Library (8), which was founded in 1661; and the Humboldt Universitat (6), Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810. Oh, and the statue of Frederick the Great in the middle of the road, facing west.
Why not take a walk along the boulevard and admire some of the buildings, or on a fine day you can have a break on one of the seats under the pretty linden trees.
- Historical Travel
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Humbolt University is one of many historic buildings to be viewed on a walk down Unter din Linden. Completed in 1753 as the Palace of Prince Heinrich of Prussia. The University was founded there in 1810. The statue is of Hermann Helmholtz, famous German physician and physicist who had a signicant impact on the direction of the University. When I visited there was a book market taking place out the front which I have been told is a regular occurance. The "Little Humboldt Gallery" is located in the main building, Unter den Linden 6, open Tuesday to Friday drom noon to 6:00 p.m and shows exhibitions of artistic works by university staff, students and artists from the Berlin area. There is also a shop in the same building selling university badged clothing such as T shirts, caps and sweatshirts.
The ivy clad State Library is one of many historic buildings to be viewed on a walk down Unter din Linden. It has a sister building at Potsdamer Straße under the same administration which was established due the post war split of Berlin and us such the original collection has been divided. Quantities are hard to comprehend and include 10 million books, 250,000 autographs, 450,000 print music editions, 960,000 maps and atlases, 38,000 periodicals, 180,000 early newspaper volumes, 2,3 million microfiches / microfilms and 13.5 million images in the picture archive. Open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday.
Unter den Linden
I was walking along this the most represantitive boulevard of former East Berlin up to the Branderburger Gate when the infamous wall stood in the past.
The street and houses along were (and still are) in rebuilding and renovation process since the wall fell down and it happens again as the houses were complitely destroyed (to the earth) at the end of WWII and remained damaged even till 60' of 20th century.
What was interesting there? A lot of impressive 18th and 19th century, renovated or newly built buildings.
Ok, from the west:
- Branderburg Gate,
- Jakob-Kaiser House - the largest of the Bundestag?s new parliamentary buildings,
- Adlon Hotel building (new),
- Embassy of Russian Federation building,
- Guggenheim Museum (yes, yes - German and new branch of famous NYC museum),
- National Library ( Staatsbibliothek),
- Monument of Frederick the Great (on the horse),
- buildings of Humboldt University,
- Alte Bibliothek (Old Library) and Staatsoper (State Opera),
- buildings of Opernpalais and Konprinzenpalais,
- Neue Wache (New Guardhouse),
- Zeughaus (Arsenal) - amazing baroque building which houses German Historical Museum,
- the Schlossbr?cke bridge where Karl-Liebknechtstra?e with Berliner Dome begins.
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