"Opera in Augsburg" Top 5 Page for this destination Augsburg by Nemorino

Augsburg Travel Guide: 238 reviews and 583 photos

"All the World's a Stage"

Written in red neon script across the wall of the lobby is the motto of the Augsburg Theater, ...die ganze Welt ist eine Bühne. This is the German translation of Shakespeare's famous line "All the World's a Stage", from his play "As You Like It" (written around 1598–1600).

This is a city-owned theater with its own opera ensemble, orchestra and chorus. I have only seen one opera here so far, namely Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) by Richard Wagner (1813-1883), which I have also seen in Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden and Mainz.

Augsburg was the birthplace of Leopold Mozart (1719-1787). He was a composer and musician in his own right, and also the author of what was then a standard textbook on learning to play the violin. But he is most famous as the father, teacher, manager and slave-driver of the world's greatest composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

In 1763 Leopold Mozart spent 15 days in Augsburg with his eleven year old daughter Nannerl and seven year old son Wolfgang, at the start of their three-year European concert tour. The children were already famous as child-prodigy musicians. Leopold was not only their teacher and sole accompanying parent on this trip (their mother was back home in Salzburg), he also organized the whole tour, sent articles to the local newspapers along the way, rented concert halls, sold the tickets and most importantly made contact with local princes and dukes so the children could give lucrative concerts at their courts.

This first big tour took the Mozarts to Ulm, Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Schwetzingen, Mannheim, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Liège, Brussels, Paris and London, among many other places. On their way home after three years they stopped again in Augsburg, but only for two days, from November 6th to 8th, 1766.

They traveled by stage coach, as that was the only means of transportation available. There were no paved roads, so this sort of travel was bumpy and dusty, and very slow. It was also dangerous. As a precaution, Leopold always carried a pistol and a knife with him, but he never had to use them.

His famous son Wolfgang spent a third of his life on the road (about twelve years out of thirty-five), giving concerts and trying to get jobs as a musician or resident composer.

Augsburg was also the birthplace of the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956). The house where he was born is now a museum.

Among many other works, Brecht wrote the words to The Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, as well as The Seven Deadly Sins, all with music by Kurt Weill (1900-1950).

In 2005 the Augsburg Theater presented a new production of one of Brecht's most famous plays, The Life of Galileo. (I saw this play in an impressive production in Frankfurt am Main several years ago.)

In this play the Italian astronomer, mathematician and physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is threatened with torture and death by the inquisition if he doesn't renounce the idea that the earth goes around the sun. He finally renounces, to save his life, but feels guilty about it for the rest of his life, and his students consider him a cop-out.

Brecht wrote the first version of The Life of Galileo in 1938 when he was living in exile after fleeing from the Nazis. At that time he had not yet moved to the United States, and of course had no idea that in 1947 he would be subpoenaed, interrogated and publicly humiliated by the "Committee on Un-American Activities" in Washington. (He left the United States the next day, and never returned.)

  • Last visit to Augsburg: Nov 2004
  • Intro Updated Jun 9, 2012
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Reviews (29)

Comments (41)

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2013 at 5:35 AM

    I had heard of Bertolt Brecht, but never knew anything about him. I appreciated learning something about him and his life from reading this page.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Apr 15, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      Thanks for your visit to my Augsburg page. I'm glad I could introduce you to Bertolt Brecht.

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Hi Don, I will be staying in Augsburg for a week in October, so I do appreciate all of the info you have given here. Thanks.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Apr 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Thanks for your ratings and nice comment on my Augsburg page. I hope you have a great week in Augsburg in October.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Thanks, I did not know that both Mozart and Brecht were born in Augsburg.

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    A very informative page - as always. I loved reading about Mozart and Brecht. Would not want to go to the saint´s museum though.

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Jun 9, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Hi Don, a very interesting page, I liked all the info about Mozart and Brecht! Good to see that it is possible to take pictures in the Mozart House in Augsburg. And I especially enjoyed your tips about the Fuggerei and the Golden Hall.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    I didn't expect to find one of my favourite Shakespeare plays here! I enjoyed reading that 7 Ages speech again, and also really enjoyed your intro about the early life of Mozart :-)

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2011 at 5:56 AM

    Thank you for looking at my updated tips. Prices of the museums increased as well as frites and pralines so that I'm obliged to update! I see you did the same with Augsburg, a city that is the one of the first opera (Mozart of course) I saw.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    There is really a lot to see in Augsburg, but unfortunately I never took the time so far to explore this city !

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Nice information on the city and its cultural sites. We are planning a trip to the Bavaria area; maybe in fall, or 2012. Good presentation

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Interesting reading about the Fuggerei and the Churches side by side. The Golden Hall looks fantastic in your photo, all "that" gold!


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