Bellini’s Norma in Krefeld
The opera I saw in Krefeld was Norma by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835).
As I explained in one of my Berlin tips, 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 in the Berlin staging I kept 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.)
The Krefeld production avoided this problem by setting the action in a sort of generic early-twentieth-century dictatorship. They had Norma living in a large, impoverished city where it was more plausible that she could keep her relationship with the enemy governor a secret. But of course the music was exactly as Bellini wrote it, and so was the text by Felice Romani. (It was sung in Italian with German surtitles.)
Like most theaters, the combined theaters of Krefeld and Mönchengladbach have started producing trailers to give a taste of what their opera productions are like. If you click on the link below you can (hopefully) see their trailer for Bellini’s Norma. (Please let me know if the link stops working.)
- Theater Travel
Krefeld City Theater
The current theater building in Krefeld dates from 1963 and looks a bit scruffy from the outside, but the inside is pleasant and comfortable since a thorough renovation was completed in 2009.
Since the city of Krefeld is actually too small to support a full-scale drama, opera and ballet company, the Krefeld Theater was merged with the theater of nearby Mönchengladbach as early as 1906, but they have been divided and re-merged at least twice since then. The current merger dates from 1950.
Second photo: The Glass Foyer is an attractive place for a drink before the show or in the intermission, especially if you are partial to the faded charm of the 1960s.
Third photo: Even after renovation, the lobby still has a 1960s feel to it, I suppose because of how the fence and the lamps are formed.
Fourth photo: Perhaps the view from the lobby would be less depressing in the summer with the fountain turned on.
Fifth photo: This is my nomination for the world’s least impressive stage entrance. Fortunately I didn’t know anybody in the cast on the night I was there, so I didn’t have to loiter around here afterwards to wait for them.
- Theater Travel
Mies van der Rohe - The Krefeld Villas
One of the great modern day architects designed a matching pair of villas which were built in Krefeld. These are open to the public - being used nowadays as a museum / art gallery. Even if you have no interest in modern architecture, these are still well worth a visit. Remember these houses were built between 1927 and 1930, survived WW2 and still look wonderful today.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Krefelder Zoo - apeshouse
What is so special about this one. Well it was hte first of his kind. This house containes tree species of apes - orangs , chimps and gorillas. Also in the same space there are bats and birds. Build in 1975 it was a completely new way of keepeing apes. There is for instance no glass between the visitors and the apes. Great opportunity to take pictures. Then there is the heat and the condition of the air. Nowadays , it is all a bit dated and small. pitty. But the zoo is always in movement...
Krefelder Zoo - elephant show
These indian elephant ladys do there duty every day. it is a circus like show. Quit spectacular. I think zookeepers should keep there animals buzzy in a natural way - taht is called enrichment. So this is a bit out off time but I must admid spectacular....
Krefelder Zoo- intro
Krefelder zoo isn't a verry large zoo , but it sure diserves a visit. 13 hectares - 1200 animals in 230 species. And there are some special ones among them. The zoo has special attention for animals out off south america and was pioneer by the new apes-house build in 1975.
But read more about it at my other tips...
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