If the legendary ancient Greek singer Orpheus were alive today he would be an opera singer, right?
Well, not exactly. He would sing like an opera singer, but he would look, dress and act like a rock star, and his beautiful bride Eurydice would be a spaced-out groupie.
At least that's how they were presented recently by the Frankfurt Opera at their alternative venue Bockenheimer Depot, in a new production of what was probably the world's first full-scale opera, L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643).
When Orpheus had sung his way into the underworld to rescue the dead Eurydice (actually he gained entrance by hitting Caronte on the head with his electric guitar, but never mind), he was greeted with grins and hand-slapping by the ghosts of several of his dead rock-star colleagues, or rather by evil sprits holding masks in front of their faces to make them easily recognizable as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Elvis Presley, among others.
This was inevitably a somewhat controversial interpretation of a lovely baroque opera that dates from the year 1607, but I thought it worked really well, and in the two performances I attended the audience was highly enthusiastic.
Have you ever been in this situation? You're traveling with a dozen or so nice people from several different countries, and you're all very excited about the next leg of your journey. Everybody gets packed up, and they keep talking about departing (also various ones fall in love with each other, to the amusement of the rest), but then someone comes in with the news that the bus has broken down. What do you do? Well, after the initial disappointment you organize a big grill party and each person sings a song from his or her native country.
That's essentially the situation in the comic opera Il viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims), written in 1825 by the great Gioacchino Rossini (1792 - 1868).
Only they of course didn't have buses in those days, so their problem is that all the horses and carriages in the whole country are already booked out because everybody wants to go to Reims for the coronation of the new king. But otherwise they do exactly what we would do. (And they never do get to Reims.)
There isn't terribly much plot to this opera, but it's great fun and it's a true-to-life tourist situation that most VT members should be able to relate to. And the singing in the new Frankfurt production is fantastic!
Also the staging is highly amusing and effective -- after a long and very successful singing career, veteran American baritone Dale Duesing has done his first production as a stage director.
It's sung in Italian with German surtitles, so it would be ideal if you knew one of those languages. But it's fun even if you don't.
If I'm traveling to or connecting in Frankfurt I will usually stop at the Admiral's Lounge here in the airport. It's conveniently located at the Gallerie level in Departure Hall B/C, next to a walking bridge near the Sheraton Hotel.
It beats having to wait in the general waiting area and the best part is that they provide you with some good snacks, drinks and reading material, conference rooms, showers and T-Mobile Hotspots and wireless internet.
Open daily from 7 am - 8 pm.
... my favourite radio show in the morning. I love the discussions of the presenters about the news they read in the different newspapers ... I guess my favourite presenters are Loebbl and Patrul but anyway they all are great ...
You can listen to it on RadioX on Ukw 91,8 Mhz.
To learn more about RadioX you could check out this page www.radiox.de
On this German webside you can find everything what's going on in town http://www.rhein-main.net/
You also find adresses of nearly every restaurant in town as well as top ten raking for the special types of restaurant like italian restaurants or "Appler Kneipen".
The website belongs to the magazine Journal Frankfurt which is issued every 2 weeks with all tips for going out and all other activities.
Or you can try this site www.prinz.de which also belongs to a magasin ...
Fondest memory: Check out this page, here you find English reviews on restaurants, bars, shops ...
The reviews are from mainly from locals, on the German page you even find more tips.
When in Frankfurt, we really enjoyed the ability to try many types of local food. Each train station (Haptbahnhof), seemed to have 3-5 different kiosks serving food and/or drinks. Typically there was a fresh juice stand, a bakery, and a sandwich shop at minimum. The sandwiches were always inexpensive, and were a great alternative to the higher priced food and beverages on the trains.
A salami or wurst sandwich in these shops would run 1,50 euros, and a nicer ham or schnitzel sandwich would be 2,50 or 3 euros. There also seemed to be an endless number of options for bread, including plain, croissant, pretzel, or baguette breads with or without cheese and meat. I thoroughly enjoyed the pretzels with garlic butter!
I have been to Frankfurt 4 times. I came to help International Book Fair 2 times. That is a memorable thing. Visiting Goethe house is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy every time and find something new about his ideas and life.
Drinking beer in a typical German restaurant is a lot of fun. Shopping is also a great fun. Several museums and opera are yet to be awaited.
Fondest memory: International Book Fair and meeting many publishers, authors and book-fun
Does the term "Frankfurt School of Social Theory" mean anything to you? Are you a fan of such scholar-critics as Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, or Benjamin? Are you a leftish sociologist or cultural historian? If the answer is yes, you'll probably be making a pilgrimage to the J.W. von Goethe University campus, the home of the social science and humanities programs of the Citizens University of Frankfurt.
Or you may just like the interesting atmosphere of a leading university - and the striking building which it inhabits.
By some peculiar quirk or perverse irony, the University is housed in this structure called the I.G. Farben Building. (Farben provided the poison gas used as the Auschwitz concentration camp.) But don't confuse the institution with the structure. The University in Frankfurt has always been much associated with Marxism and Leftish thought, even in the 1920s and 30s, so it's not surprising to learn from the University's website that during the Hitler years "almost one third of its academics and many of its students were dismissed for racial and/or political reasons - more than at any other German university."
The University also played a major role in the 1968 student movement in Germany.
Fondest memory: This structure is regarded as the masterpiece of influential German architect Hans Poelzig (1869-1936). I was a little startled when I first found out that this building was completed all the way back in 1931! It clean lines and simple - yet largescale - organization of forms seems absolutely contemporary! Poelzig created the building to be the administrative offices of the German chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben. After World War II, the building was turned over to American authorities who used it as an administrative and military base all the way until 1995.
Frankfurt has some fabulous skyscrapers - hence its nickname "Mainhatten" (it is located on the banks of the River Main). Located right near the Main Tower is Europe's tallest office block - the Commerzbank Tower.
It stands 298m tall, if you include the antenna. When it was completed in 1997, it was the tallest building in Europe, though has since been surpassed by a couple of apartment blocks in Moscow.
Fondest memory: The tower is home to the Commerzbank headquarters, and is unfortunately not open to the public. You will have to make so with the views from the Main Tower instead.
Kaiserplatz, 60311 Frankfurt
Turm-Kinos (Tower-Cinemas) in the City-Center at Eschenheimer Tor shows undubbed movies. (Only English, I´m afraid)
The place is run down, but what the heck! It shows the new movies without subtitles, but how they were meant to be.
Underground lines U1, U2 and U3 stop directly underneath the cinema, it is one stop northbound from Hauptwache.
Mal Seh´n (Arthouse Cinema) in Adlerflychtstreet (take the tube U5 northbound to Musterschule, walk in the direction of the passing train up to Adlerflychtstreet (2 min.) on the left side. The cinema is the third house from the corner) shows movies from all over the world. Usally the stuff no other cinema touches. Very often with subtitles. So if you want to see a hip movie from - let´s say - Uganda, there is a possibility that they show one.
Here is the link: www.malsehnkino.de
This cinema offers also: a nice little pub, friendly staff, reasonable prices
(One screen only !)
Favorite thing: Sebastian Rinz (1782-1861) was an important landscape architect and designer who helped to plan Frankfurt's wonderful series of inner-city parks. This "necklace" of green space was created on what had previously been the ramparts of the inner city walls. Appropriately, the Rinz Memorial has the nature-lover peering out proudly from under one of his sylvan canopies.
I haven't been able to discover any personal connection between Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and the city of Frankfurt, but it's nice that this great author is remembered here.
Lessing (1729-1781) was one of the most important figures of the German Enlightenment, a philosopher, poet and playwright, a staunch Liberal, and a believer in social and religious freedoms. He was certainly one of Goethe's inspirations, and so it's appropriate that Lessing's statue is not a long walk away from Goethe's house here.
Favorite thing: Frankfurt was one of the first cities in Europe to commemorate the sufferings of homosexuals during World War II. The gay/lesbian memorial stands on the corner of Alte Gasse and Schafergasse. The angel's head is severed from its body - yet it is still graceful and dignified.
The Fountain of Justice! (you gotta love the German language!)
The "Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen" (with Libra-esque scales of justice) stands in the center of the Romerberg public square, and was the traditional site of celebrations and festivities honoring the Holy Roman Emperors chosen here.
Favorite thing: In the Middle Ages, Frankfurt was a walled city - beginning its status as an Imperial Center. But after the Napoleonic Wars - and the end of the Holy Roman Empire - the walls were clearly superfluous, and they were dismantled. In their place, in the early 19th century the city leaders created a necklace of green spaces where the fortifications had previously stood. These gardens are one of the most pleasant and attractions of the 21st century city, providing welcome relief from the urban hurly-burly beyond.
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