"Opera and Cycling in Freiburg" Top 5 Page for this destination Freiburg im Breisgau by Nemorino

Freiburg im Breisgau Travel Guide: 418 reviews and 1,093 photos

Freiburg im Breisgau is a pleasant university city at the edge of the Black Forest in the southwest corner of Germany, near the borders with France and Switzerland.

In other parts of Germany, Freiburg is envied for its relatively mild climate, since the daily weather maps in the newspapers and on television often show Freiburg as being a degree or two warmer than any other German city.

Freiburg is also known as one of the better cycling cities in Germany. This is not only because of the mild climate and the large student population, but also because the city has had a clear policy since the 1980s of promoting bicycle use (and public transport) and constructing an extensive network of cycling routes, while taking measures to discourage unnecessary automobile traffic.

On a recent visit I rented a bicycle in Freiburg on two consecutive days and had a fine time exploring the city.

The one opera I have seen in Freiburg thus far was Werther by Jules Massenet (1842-1912), which I have also seen in Würzburg, Darmstadt, Frankfurt am Main and Brussels.

This is a French opera based on the best-selling German novel of the 18th century, The Sorrows of Young Werther, by none other than Johann Wolfgang Goethe, or von Goethe, as he was known after being raised to the aristocracy on his 50th birthday. When he wrote the novel he was only 25, though, and still felt somewhat discriminated against as a non-aristocratic intellectual.

The fine Freiburg production of Werther takes the opera out of the 18th century and plants it firmly in the 21st, with modern apartment blocks in the background and a modern children's playground in the center of the stage. When Werther shoots himself at the end, out of desperation because he is hopelessly in love with someone else's wife, he does so at the top of the slide, and his blood gradually trickles down the slide as he sings his final duet with his beloved but unattainable Charlotte.

The young tenor Dong Won Kim (no relation to the filmmaker, as far as I know) put in a fine performance as Werther. Anja Jung was a somewhat matronly Charlotte, and Lini Gong nearly stole the show as the younger sister Sophie, who could have been Werther's salvation if he had been a bit less obsessive.

  • Last visit to Freiburg im Breisgau: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 14, 2013
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Reviews (32)

Comments (44)

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Hi Don. I enjoyed reading your Freiburg page. Seems they are doing a good job to remember the past and conserve for the future.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Apr 3, 2015 at 12:19 AM

      John, thanks for your ratings and comments on my Freiburg page.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Don, I see there's a lot to do and to experience in this splendid city....Thanks for your travel advice!

  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Thanks for that virtual tour! One day I'm going to visit this city.

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    An interesting approach to describe a lovely German city.

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    I think this is an excellent travel page. I enjoyed reading about the alternative sources of energy and I always wondered what those gullies were in the street. I followed one for a time just to see where it went. Beautifully done! Thanks Don

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Interesting reading about Hitler and the street names. This sounds like a real 'bike' city, no good in Australia when often you have to drive an hour each way to work and with the traffic!

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 25, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      Dee, thanks for your visit to my Freiburg page. Driving an hour each way to work sounds dreadful – I’m so glad I don’t have to do that!

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Mar 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      You have to here. My longest drive to work was around 70kms each way in the heavy traffic. I guess that is why Aussies don't mind driving. If you are unemployed and looking for work, I think you have to apply for jobs up to 30kms or one hour travel now. It does mean a long day, and I was very tired when working overtime. Brisbane has been growing very fast over the years, so for me, public transport is not available in any form and for lots of other people.

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Hi Don, a wonderful page about Freiburg - I did not know much about the city before and it was very interesting to read your tips and to learn how green Freiburg is (in both ways: politically and because there seem to be many gardens, trees and plants :-) ). It looks really beautiful and I certainly must go there one day!

  • slothtraveller's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Fantastic page on Freiburg, Don. Seems like a really cyclist friendly place and so close to the Black Forest. Freiburg is near the top of my must-visit destinations in Germany!

  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    A beer garden in Freiburg? I'm there! ;o)

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    We have a small village in Pennsylvania, USA called Fryburg, apparently named after Germany's Freiburg. It's nice to know more about the original town. Even after living in Germany for two years, I didn't know the rules for the "play streets." Thanks!


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