"Opera and cycling in Braunschweig" Top 5 Page for this destination Braunschweig by Nemorino
Braunschweig Travel Guide: 171 reviews and 545 photos
Braunschweig, which in English is also known as Brunswick, has a population of over 240,000, which makes it the second largest city in Lower Saxony (after Hannover).
When I first visited Braunschweig ten years ago I found the city somewhat off-putting because of its bloated infrastructure for automobile traffic, but I have since done some cycling there and found that they have also made ample provision for bicycles. In fact cycling is a very good option in Braunschweig, both in the city and in the surrounding countryside.
My immediate reason for visiting Braunschweig in 2007 was to see Kerstin Maria Pöhler's staging of the opera La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). This is now one of the world's most popular operas, but when it first came out in 1853 it shocked opera goers (and the original cast of singers!) because of its highly controversial contemporary topic. It wasn't about Greek gods or Roman emperors, as everyone expected, but about a French courtesan (sort of an up-market prostitute) who had really lived and in fact had just died six years earlier of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-three.
Since Verdi's intention in his own day was to create daring contemporary musical drama, I'm sure he would have approved of the efforts of 20th and 21st century stage directors to bring it up to date and relate it to the concerns of modern audiences.
For Axel Corti, whose 1991 Frankfurt staging has been revived repeatedly in the past twenty-one years, the heroine of La traviata was a Jewish actress and singer who had an affair with a German general in Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1940s, a century later than the original story. For Kerstin Maria Pöhler, the Artistic Director of the State Theater Braunschweig, this same heroine was a worshiped but abused entertainment star resembling Marilyn Monroe or Maria Callas.
I was fortunate enough to see these two very different productions within forty-eight hours of each other and was highly impressed with the poignant and logically consistent interpretations by these two very different stage directors.
On previous visits to Braunschweig I saw the four-act Italian version of Verdi's Don Carlo and the original 1869 version of Boris Godunow by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881).
Since I'm a sucker for restaurants that are named after operas, I of course had to go to this one. It describes itself... more travel advice
Braunschweig has had electric trams since 1897 (they were horse-drawn before that), and today there is an extensive... more travel advice
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