Travelogue III: Berlin

IMG_0144Berlin Wall

18. Juli, 2014 If Munich is all stability, conservatism and settledness, then Berlin is its polar opposite–restless, scandalous, disparate, a miss-mash of old and new, renewal and decay. It’s thrilling, though I think I will always prefer Munich’s particular beauty and stateliness.

IMG_0192A typical Berlin skyline–old and new together, everything in transition, always with a dozen cranes from construction sites in the background.

We arrived late last night, and got on a boat this morning to take a tour of the city. We docked at the Turkish Market, and climbed a flight of stairs to the street. Suddenly, we weren’t in Germany any more, but in some open bazaar in some city to the South and East–rugs and bolts of silk and glass beads and vegetables and Doener, all being hawked with utmost enthusiasm in Turkish, brilliant colors everywhere.

IMG_0147

Bolts-of-fabric-on-display

turkse-markt-berlijn-2(p-activity,2730)(c-0)

On the way back, we looked up events for the evening in a local newspaper. The professor and I found a baroque concert in Schloss Charlottenburg, and went to hear a Vivaldi concerto and early Mozart arias, surrounded by Berlin’s most wealthy and privileged.

schloss-charlottenburgSchloss Charlottenburg

19. Juli, 2014 Unbearably hot the entire day–I came early back to the hotel, blessedly one of the few with air conditioning in the entire city, and slept till early evening. Then off again, with the entire group this time, to the Deutsch-Französisches Fest–sponsored by the French Embassy, held in front of the Brandenburger Tor. “This is a good time for my country,” said the professor, “when the French feel that they can come to the most German spot in the most German city and throw a party. I find that very hopeful.” And the French know how to party–packed open-air tables, food and wine and German beer, drinking songs and dancing and then a performance by a Berlin rapper who is apparently insanely popular in France.

One has the feeling that Berlin is 10 cities instead of one. Crazy, that 24 hours ago I was sitting in evening-wear in a pristine concert hall, listening to Italian arias and drinking Champagne–and that 36 hours ago I was trying to figure out how to pronounce Gözleme, surrounded by Turkish housewives haggling over the price of fresh fruit or fish or bolts of fabric. And now I’m being deafened by an open-air rap concert at a table with 15 of my new best friends, eating French pizza and wishing I could dance.

brandenburger-torBrandenburger Tor, minus a bunch of very happy, very drunk French partygoers, and a very bad German rapper. 

In Munich, too, but especially in Berlin, the internationality of it all is staggering–in the Turkish Market, we might as well not be in Europe at all, in the tiny Italian cafe in Gendarmenmarkt, the couples at the other tables are from Australia, Holland, Italy. At the French-German Fest, we solve all the world’s problems at a table with Maria from Ireland, Jean from France, and the friends they had just met from Spain. With a shared bottle of rosé and a tarte flambée from the stand across the square, all screaming to be heard over the music, speaking in a mixture of German and English and very bad French. It’s all playing with language, with cultural differences, with stereotypes and idioms and bad jokes. Maria teaches us phrases in Gaelic, we all learn a French drinking song because the people at the next table haven’t stopped singing it for hours, and the American students give the German professors an education in modern American slang–“trolling,” “mosh pit,” “duckface.” Very important vocabulary, that.

To me, this is all so new–my childhood in small-town New England and undergrad in the conservative Midwest, wonderful as they were, didn’t really lend themselves to this sort of dialog. And here, I am loving it–a thousand perspectives and ways of thinking, a dozen new languages. If you listen hard enough, with a little Latin you can start picking up French and Italian within a few minutes.

And the pace, too, is so different from anything I am used to, here in one of most vibrant cities in Europe. Even with the conservative professors, you go out to eat AFTER the concert, not before, and then to a cafe for another glass of wine, and then back to the hotel to sit in the garden and talk and laugh harder than you have laughed in months. If you make it back to the room before 2am, it’s an early night.

20. Juli, 2014 In the morning, we take a tour of the Reichstag, the seat of German government. Only the outside is original–everything inside was re-built post-reunification, to match Germany’s new emphasis on transparency and clarity. The building is part art museum, part memorial, part politics, all glass and efficient clean lines. It’s possible to look right through the entire structure, through the parliament room and offices to the heaven on the other side, as our tour guide tells us. It is obvious that this is the political seat of a country that is peaceful and successful and at least half-way intelligent.

IMG_0136Reichstag from the river-side.

IMG_0186From the front. The inscription: “To the German people.”

IMG_0139The past is still very much felt–bullet holes left over from WWII.

10_57d8c64005816c718c79d310e001675aParliament, unfortunately minus Angela Merkel

IMG_0190Dome above the building, with views of the city on all sides and of the parliament room below.

IMG_0194Inside the dome

In the afternoon, it’s too hot to look at art. “I think I would have a panic attack if I had to see a Kandinsky right now,” says the professor. So I, who am always so uptight and driven and have to be doing doing doing, sit for four hours in a cafe at the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt, sometimes talking about literature or the funny things the students said last night, but mostly in silence. It’s a privilege, this.

cafe-gendarmenmarktGendarmenmarkt

Afterwards, the train ride back to Wuerzburg is pretty hellish. Delays on both ends, unbearably hot and sticky on the slow train to Hannover, missed connections and resulting loss of seat reservations between Hannover and Wuerzburg. But when we finally arrive in the tiny train station at 11pm, the clouds open and the heat finally breaks, with thunder and wonderfully cold wind on the way back to the dorms.

____________

Note: for a less-rambly post on Berlin from two years ago, with lots more pictures and infos, click here.

Travelogue I: Munich

KandinskyWassily Kandinsky, Häuser in München, 1908 

 11. Juli, 2014 Arrived in Munich with the high-speed train at 6pm. The group left on a walking tour, and I took a taxi into the city for dinner. “I’m looking for a cafe somewhere near the Odeonsplatz,” I told the cab driver. “Cafe Tambosi–das wollen Sie bestimmt!” he answered. “It’s where you go to see and be seen in Munich.” So I went to Cafe Tambosi on the most beautiful square in the city and sat under a linden tree, and drank Riesling with my Pasta Aglio, and read Kafka’s diaries until it was too dark to see.

tambosi-odeonsplatz_0Cafe Tambosi, outdoor seating overlooking Odeonsplatz

12. Juli, 2014 I went into the city again early, to find out how to get a rush ticket to a new play by Elfriede Jelinek on in the Residenz that evening. Afterwards, I heard music, and walked behind the box office to find a rehearsal of the Staatsoper orchestra for an open-air concert that evening. It was pouring rain, and I sat on a ledge under some ponderous marble overhang and listened and got mostly soaked. And then who should come out but Diana Damrau herself, wearing a scarf and coat because of the cold, to sing Strauss Lieder and joke with the conductor about the abysmal weather.

Strauss’ Morgen, Diana Damrau

IMG_0069There she is!

What a city–everything is here, the beauty, culture, refinement–and the people who can afford to take it all in, coming to see and be seen, walking from Odeonsplatz to the opera, shelling out 8 euros for a glass of German Sekt in some rococo gem of a restaurant. I feel almost guilty to be loving it, to be able to be here in the first place. In the Middle East, people are blowing each other up. Back home, the farmer down the road, who is hardly older than I am, has probably been spreading manure for the second cut hay for the past two weeks. And here I am drinking tea in a cafe by the Hofbraeuhaus for 4.50 a cup, after having heard Diana Damrau sing Strauss. I went to the ladies’ room, and the sinks were all pink marble–polished gold fixtures, floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

IMG_0078Taking a break to read on the edge of a fountain in some inner courtyard of the Residenz–no one around. Note that the “carvings” on the walls are painted on–the effects of the war are still very much felt here, especially in the architecture. 

13. Juli, 2014 Shatteringly good theater last night. FaustIn and Out: a new work by Elfriede Jelinek, Austrian avant-garde at its most brutal. Typical for her,  the play was hard-hitting, dirty, sometimes pornographic–but also more philosophical and less unrelentingly naturalistic than Die Klavierspielerin (The Pianist), the other novel I have read by her. The plot was based on that horrible story from the news a few years ago: Austrian man keeps his daughter locked in the basement for 24 years, rapes her repeatedly, fathers 7 children, burns the stillbirths in the household oven. Jelinek’s take unfolded as a series of monologues, or arias, by the two characters in the story, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes–not just a conversation between father and daughter, but between man and woman, Faust and Gretchen (the whole thing was full of Goethe quotes), perhaps above all between God and man. The daughter’s rants were sorts of prayers, addressed to a father who was God, Lord, redeemer, creator, and also a monster. Is the God we believe in a God who rapes us instead of loves us, who holds us captive in a windowless cellar, while only he is allowed to be free? etc. The penultimate word of the drama was “Freiheit” (freedom) à la Goetz von Berlichingen, shouted triumphantly by the father offstage. The daughter, looking out at the audience, replied quietly, flatly, in English: “What?”

FaustIn-and-out-the staging

The space itself was beautiful, which jarred rather harshly with the content of the play–Cuvilliés-Theater, inside the Residenz–completed in 1753, destroyed during WWII and then restored and reopened in 2008. Mozart premiered his Idomeneo there in 1781. We were up in the highest loge, in a box, chairs pulled up to the silk-covered edge of the balcony.

theater4-DW-Bayern-MuenchenCuvilliés

Afterwards a glass of cold Valpolicella at Tambosi. Long discussion of women in German literature, home very late.

14. Juli, 2014 Back in Wuerzburg, which seems very small and comforting in comparison to Munich. Yesterday was all modern art, at the newly-restored Lenbachhaus, a Florentine-style villa built in the late 1800s as the private home of Franz von Lenbach and acquired by the city of Munich in the 1920s.

IMG_0084

IMG_0092

Exhibition notes: stunning collection of Der Blaue Reiter, the German expressionist group from the early 1900s I fell in love with while researching for a paper on silent films last year. Brilliant, explosive, bright colors everywhere–for me, at first very hard to reconcile with the fractured and apocalyptic artist statements I listened to as part of the audio tour. Kandinsky, my favorite: playful and horrible at the same time, especially in the more abstract works. Exuberant on the surface–but underneath there is often something nightmarish. Not so brutal as Anselm Kiefer, say, but still marked by a feeling of impending immolation. In that way, not so different from the final chapters of Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain. 

kandinsky-improvisation19Kandinsky, Improvisation 19

Art today is moving in directions of which our forebears had no inkling; the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are heard galloping through the air; artistic excitement can be felt all over Europe – new artists are signalling to one another from all sides; a glance, a touch of the hand, is enough to convey understanding. Franz Marc, 1912

Kandinsky_-_Composition_VI_(1913)Kandinsky, Composition VI, 1913

The more frightening the world becomes… the more art becomes abstract. Wassily Kandinsky

8930072872_c3fa9e83ac_zKandinsky, Impression VI, 1911

The rest of the museum was noteworthy as well, with an extensive collection of very contemporary pieces as well as a wing of rooms from the original villa, rich and decadent and notably free of Blaue Reiter angst:

IMG_0093

IMG_0098

IMG_0096

…And one more photo below from the after-1945 wing, which I can’t resist posting because German museums are insane. SM club meets modern art?? Viewers encouraged to participate, according to the placard. lol.

IMG_0090

…and just for the sake of NOT ending on that note, here’s the gorgeous interior of the Theatinerkirche on Odeonsplatz:
IMG_0073

So, there was Munich, in 48 hours. We were back in time to catch Germany’s victory in World Cup soccer. Air horns, fireworks, German flags, people singing in the streets…..

Berlin: Kunst

Of course it would be unforgivable, to go to Berlin and not hear any music! Herr G. went to a concert every night, and was kind enough to let me trail along. We missed the Komische Oper (alas!), as the tickets were sold out. We consoled ourselves, however, and made do with two of the other 10,000 cultural events currently taking place in the city…

The first evening we went to a lovely Baroque concert in the Schloss Charlottenburg and then to dinner at midnight at the Ständige Vertretung, overlooking the river. And then the next night we heard an opera concert with two amazing young singers in the building below, and then went out to an Italian restaurant for desert. We were living it up, I tell you.

One can hardly imagine how surreal it is, to be walking around at midnight in Berlin, in a fancy dress and shawl, with three professors in evening wear arguing about wine in French, all while partially drunk on the best live singing one has heard all year. It defies reason.

And I couldn’t resist the gigantic poster of a morose Barenboim outside the Berlin Philharmonic.

And the museums! A definite highlight for me was the Pergamon, which utterly satisfied the geeky Classics side of things. The museum had full-size recreations of various ancient buildings–awe-inspiring, to say the least.

 

A gate from Babylon, below. As with the churches, I find such things puzzling and astounding. What drove those creators, in this instance thousands of years ago, to devote a life time to make something so beautiful?

The last place I visited was another modern art museum, this one an old restored railway station….

The main exhibition was the work of Joseph Beuys, a new one for me. He was one of the most important German artists of the previous century. I would have to spend a good deal more time with his work to make any commentary on it, other than to say that I found it exceedingly enigmatic. But I really liked the work below, dozens of blackboards filled with faint writings (in English!) on philosophy and society and geometry.

 

I was mostly interested in Anselm Kiefer, the second artist I had fallen for in the San Francisco MOMA. There was only one small room of his works here, and he was as difficult and as beautiful and as tied to Germany’s history as before. If Cy Twombly is Shakespeare (“What do you read, my lord? Words, words, words…”), Kiefer is Mann’s Doktor Faustus.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are ever in San Francisco and the exhibition is still there, go and see this one below, with the lead angel wing.

 

In those days Germany, a hectic flush on its cheeks, was reeling at the height of its savage triumphs, about to win the world on the strength of the one pact that it intended to keep and had signed with its blood. Today, in the embrace of demons, a hand over one eye, the other staring into the horror, it plummets from despair to despair….When, out of this final hopelessness, will a miracle that goes beyond faith bear the light of hope? A lonely man folds his hands and says, “May God have mercy on your poor soul, my friend, my fatherland.”

Closing paragraph, Doktor Faustus

Würzburg: Loreena McKennit

 

Yes, Anna, I am eternally grateful to you for finding the tickets and forcing me to buy one. Yes, I am very, very sorry you couldn’t come too…..

…A favorite singer in the Goodling household is Loreena McKennitt–sort of Irish, sort of world-music, very much inspired by travel and literature, from Homer to Dante to Shakespeare. She also hardly ever does concert tours, which is why my sister pretty much freaked out when she saw that she would be singing all over Germany, July 2012. And Würzburg was a stop on the tour! Talk about amazing timing.

 

And therefore I found myself last Sunday in a beautiful outdoor theater at the Festung Marienberg, Loreena McKennitt ticket in hand. First, though, I walked all around the castle gardens…

…and had a picnic. Yes, that is a Brie sandwich, local wine, and the best chocolate in Germany.

More gardens. This was over on the other side of the mountain, outside the castle walls. There were dozens of summer cottages like the one you see in the photo, each with a tiny vegetable garden, flower beds, and fruit trees.

 

 

…and then back to the concert grounds, backed by the Festung walls.

I had a standing room ticket, and had luckily arrived early enough to get a spot just a few meters from the stage.


And because I promised, here are the videos. They aren’t very good, not least because the No-Camera Security Guy was standing three feet away from me. Seriously Anna, I could have been killed right there…..

 

 

Needless to say, it was wonderful. Nothing can beat the excitement of live music. There was much dancing, clapping, and smooching. Lots of smooching.

Loreena played the piano, harp, keyboard, and accordion. She is very down-to-earth and looks rather older than in her clips on youtube, not at all super-star-ish. Her beautiful singing voice is the same. One interesting point–we didn’t hear any new music. I believe her last CD came out in 2006…I wonder if she is still writing. I certainly hope so.

Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit

Bayreuth, July 21, 2012

It was almost exactly four years ago that I heard Richard Wagner’s music for the first time. I had bought a CD on a whim at a July 4th book sale–Das Rheingold. I suppose it is fitting that the opera began with Wagner’s creation story:

In Wagner’s music I find something too problematic to love, too compelling to hate. The composer’s art and thought have been a constant in my various explorations–a driving force forward to those he influenced, from Freud to Thomas Mann and Mahler, and backward, to his own sources–Goethe, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy.

Who would have guessed that some four years after that July 4th weekend I would be standing on a damp train platform in Germany, headed to Bayreuth.

Bayreuth is Wagner’s city, the home of the opera house he designed especially for performances of his works alone. The theater is an acoustic and architectural marvel–and today, the waiting list for tickets to the festival in August is over ten years long.

But first, the train ride there. Anna, you will be especially happy to note my reading material below. 🙂 Don’t worry, there are plenty of other articles about one Ms. A. Netrebko…

The first view of the Festival House, from the train station. The larger city was not overly exciting, very industrial and down-to-earth–nothing like Rothenburg’s brand of cultivated, touristy beauty. But it was immediately clear that this place, some 150 years after the composer’s death, was still Wagner’s city. “Bayreuth, die Stadt des großen Meisters, grüßt seine Gäste,” read the enormous sign at the station. Bayreuth, the city of the great Master, greets her guests.

In the train station, between the tabloids and chewing gum, one could purchase Wagner’s complete libretti, copies of his essays, of Nietzsche’s Der Fall Wagner.

Along the road up the Festival Hill. The road signs are all references to Wagner’s operas, characters, or family members.

The feel of the whole city was rather odd, part cult, part kitsch, part unnerving and ever-present history. It seemed as if all the shops had to have some compulsory reference to Wagner, as if marketing potential could be increased by sticking a familiar marble bust next to the wares in the display window, or by calling the breakfast omelet special Siegfried and the wine Isolde.

 Pharmacies…

 

Breakfast specials!

Every book store in the city had a large selection of Wagner CDs and books–and not just the usual “Opera for Dummies” types, but academic folios on Wagner and Nietzsche or Thomas Mann, published conference proceedings, three-volume biographies, Cosima’s complete diaries….

In the local Hugendubel (the German version of Borders or Barnes and Noble) I drank my chai across from a two-story poster of the composer’s face…

And the history…on the slope before the main entrance to the festival house, before one could climb the last set of steps to enter the building, there was an exhibition on antisemitism in Bayreuth. Of course we all know it and have struggled with it already, the noxious quotes from Cosima, the pictures of Hitler and Goebbels, the biographies of singers shunned from Bayreuth and later murdered. But seeing the pictures and the writing there made it all the more real.

But again, this is Wagner. It would be too easy to take one’s seat in the house and just listen to the music.

The Festspielhaus itself, finally. After the countless ornamented and excessively beautiful buildings we have seen these past few weeks, it looked very plain, almost Spartan. Inside, the walls were simply painted. The only furnishings I could see were a few benches. In the actual seating area, which I didn’t get to look at, all the seats are good–no royal box, no elaborate set-up to make the guests more interesting than the music. Bravo Wagner.

Here’s the place to be….

The Festival House is surrounded by lovely gardens, very green this time of year.

From the Festival Hill I went down into the Old City, and eventually to Villa Wahnfried, the home of Wagner from 1872 until his death in 1883. Unfortunately, the house (and thus the museum) was closed for renovations. But I was there!

The front facade, with a statue of the crazy King Ludwig, Wagner’s obsessive (but, luckily for the composer, totally loaded) supporter and patron. Again, the place was surprisingly unpretentious, for the home of one of the greatest figures in 19th century Europe. The house was not overly large, with that same boxy construction as the Festival House. I went and sat on the front steps for a long time.

Wahnfried literally means free from illusion or delusion. Wagner’s motto is written on the front of the house: “Hier wo mein Wähnen Frieden fand – Wahnfried – sei dieses Haus von mir benannt.” (“Here where my delusions have found peace, let this place be named Wahnfried.”) I can’t help but wonder what he meant by that.

Below, the fresco or painting above the front door. It shows Wagner in the middle as Wotan, king of the gods, with actress and lover Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient (I think…) on the left as Drama, and wife Cosima on the right as Music. The little child is Wagner’s son Siegfried.

Wagner and Cosima’s grave, entirely unadorned. When I got there it started to pour rain, which was fitting.

Of course such a place is remarkable not only for the presence of the artist himself, but for all that has happened afterwards, for all those who have visited to hear the same music, to see the same house and grave. Even while Wagner was alive, of course, Europe’s intellectual and artistic elite took their way to the city, as friends, enemies, pilgrims, lovers. Franz Liszt was one such visitor, supporter, and later Wagner’s father-in-law. His house is across the street from Wahnfried.

The place is now a museum, and, probably to compensate for Wahnfried being closed, has the piano that Wagner composed much of Parsifal on. Imagine!

And that was all. I ate dinner in a tiny cafe next to the train station and then flew back to Würzburg, at 200 kilometers per hour in a nearly-empty train, into the sunset. It was a good day. I’ll be back soon, with a ticket.

Morgen….

Tomorrow, Bayreuth!
After some three hours on two buses and one train, headed East, Bayern weekend ticket in hand, with books and a packed lunch of good Würzburg wine, bread, and cheese….a real Abenteuer, to the one place on earth I have most wanted to visit. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Kirchen

Germany is full of beautiful churches.

I am not sure if “beautiful” is the correct adjective. The actuality is both more sublime and more disturbing. Centuries ago, in towns of just a few thousand people–what prompted those in command to dedicate so many lives and fortunes to these buildings? They seem to me to be the ultimate Gesamtkunstwerke (Total Works of Art), equal parts piety and hubris, reverence and power, shaped in turn by religion, music, politics, Zeitgeist. As much celebrations of human creativity as places of worship.

Here is the Marienkapelle in the center of Würzberg, surrounded, oddly enough, by the local farmers’ market. The inside, as in all the churches we have visited, is ever cool and still, a forest or a whole universe of stone, light, and glass.

Many of the churches have an odd mixture of old and new artwork, as many original structures were destroyed in World War II. For instance, the windows here below date from the restoration after the war. They are stunning, but look somehow out of place with the old architecture.

Neumünster, also in Würzburg.

Below, one of the many gorgeous organs. In München, we found a cathedral where someone was playing Bach high above our heads, far behind us. When I went to the mass in the Frauen Kirche, the choir and organ sent vibrations through the stone floor and wooden pews. Such music is somehow more than tone, more than sound–something one can feel in the air, almost touch.

Frauenkirche, München.

Michaelskirche, München, where we heard the Bach.

Asamkirche, München. This one was truly insane, as Rococo as they come–all fine metal work, dense murals, gilt, and twisted stone columns of some sort of red polished marble. The effect was ultimately one of claustrophobia, of the walls closing in above one’s head. The building dates from 1746, when the Baroque movement was in its last and most extreme stages.

This last church, especially, raises interesting questions. I know people (ahem…Dr.G…) who dislike various late-Romantic artists and composers because they are too bombastic. But isn’t this, dating from the early 1700s, just as “bombastic”  as, say, Wagner? Or even Thomas Mann, whose novels aren’t exactly examples of restraint and minimalism?  Isn’t this earlier artistic spirit just as over-the-top, though of course very different aesthetically?
And if we are discussing music, check out the marvelously insane Cecilia Bartoli below, singing a piece from roughly the same Baroque/Rococo period. It sounds like the Asamkirche.

Bombast? Beauty? The sublime? Or all together?

Für Anna

Hallo Meine Schwester! Since you already stalked my Youtube page this is old hat…but look what we found playing in downtown Munich, at 11:30pm! THE musical! I restrained myself from breaking out in song.

Also, here’s a few random pictures of Ballet in Munich. I bet Roberto Bolle, or whatever his name is, dances here.

Dr. G. and I, and hopefully others, are going to see PILOBOLUS in Berlin…look them up. They come to Dartmouth every year, and are apparently fantastic (modern dance).

München: Musik

Most important things first, right? München (Munich), exponentially larger and more overwhelming than Würzburg, is truly a city of music.

We made a quick tour of the downtown area after our arrival Friday afternoon–and what do we pass first, right around the corner from the bus stop? Joseph Calleja himself (one of my favorite tenors…), rehearsing O Soave Fanciulla (my favorite Puccini duet…) for a concert Sunday night, in the beautiful outdoor Odeonsplatz. Wow.

 

Odeonsplatz below.

The poster for the concert.

…And now note the poster above, for the City Opera summer Ring Cycle….Siegfried opened Friday night, but was utterly sold out, alas.

More Wagner, and the opera house itself.

Look who else you can see…

A. and I walked back to Odeonsplatz Saturday night, to hear the München Philharmonic in another outdoor concert of Russian music. We were too poor to buy tickets, so we sat on a window-ledge on a side street and read our German homework and listened for free–along with a couple dozen other assorted students and young couples, who brought picnic blankets and wine to make a night of it.

The city was also full of street musicians, many of whom were absolutely fantastic. Like this group, for instance, who played some sort of crazy Vivaldi mash-up as if they were possessed by devils (in the words of Prof. G.!):

 

Up next: Cathedrals, Thomas Mann, and Cy Twombly!

Aber was mir am wichtigsten ist…

Check it out. Der Meister selbst.

Wagner’s house was literally the first thing pointed out to us when we stepped off the bus into downtown Würzburg the first night. And then I knew I was in the right place, for sure! I had forgotten that he lived here for a short time while composing his first opera, Die Feen. Here’s the whole building:

We walk past it every morning on our way to our classroom.

There’s also another building with his name on it that we pass in the bus every time we leave the apartments…

Also eine wunderschöne Stadt, oder?