"Opera and canoeing in Ulm" Top 5 Page for this destination Ulm by Nemorino

Ulm Travel Guide: 246 reviews and 847 photos

This is Ulm: the world's tallest church steeple rising like a fata morgana from a sea of mediocre post-war architecture.

In September 2005 I went to Ulm to see their premiere of the opera Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). It was an ambitious production, set in 19th century Egypt under British rule, with a puppet king (shades of "The King and I") dominated by the British colonial administrator. The stage set was an authentic-looking colonial hotel, intact in the first act, full of bullet holes in the second act and severely damaged by artillery fire in the third and fourth. The staging was resolutely anti-war, which I always like, because Aida is actually a quite militaristic opera, and I think it is the duty of any stage director to counteract this.

What didn't work so well in the Ulm production was that Verdi's eerie ancient-Egyptian priests' music was sung by a chorus of chubby British colonials, presumably Anglicans, wearing khaki shorts and wide-brimmed hats. Incongruous, to say the least.

Also I found the ending rather lame. I mean come on guys, having two people get stuck in an elevator just does not have the same dramatic impact as having them sealed into a tomb with bricks and mortar.

In 1962 Ulm was the fifth stop on a seventeen-day canoe trip that I took with some German friends down the Danube River to Vienna. We camped at an official campsite on the riverbank, as I recall, and spent part of one day exploring the city.

  • Last visit to Ulm: Sep 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (40)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    Don, Ulm is really a wonderful place to explore....

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Interesting that Einstein was born in Ulm, also how people attempt to gain through such a fact.I think the Cathedral Spire is more important!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    More interesting info here! I didn't know the Cathedral has the tallest spire in the world, it must be a sight to see! I love the Butcher & Farmer monument too. Ulm looks a nice city!

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Nice little day tour you had here Don. So, did you ever get to see the opera called Einstein in Amerika?

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    I knew the name Ulm rang a bell, found out why when I read your tip on Einstein :D

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Me again back to Schwaben. At the end of my studies I worked a few months at a plant in Günzburg by Ulm. There I discovered the Schwäbische Barock.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    Sounds like the library cafeteria with the view is a nice place to sit and read. But the view would of course be even better from the church steeple. It is really tall!

  • alancollins's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Another city on my list of places to visit. Alan

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Ulm is on my list of places to visit from Munich (of course, a great brewery is there) so thanks for this peek into the "other" sights. Fischerplatz looks lovely and interesting story about Einstein too.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    It has such a history and endured many times of the past that it still prevails as a great area. Thank you


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