Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dresden: Secret Opera Date

The kids fell asleep quickly after such a monster of a day, and Rob and I went back out for a short walk. At 11:00pm, the Semper Opera was having one more tour after the evening's performance. We decided that this might be the only time we were ever in town and up at 11:00pm without our tour-hating children. So we went in.
The entrance hall. This is another one of those baroque buildings where they try to build up from the merely spectacular to absolutely breathtaking.
Upstairs hallway.
This was sort of an upstairs foyer. All of those columns are faux marble, but made with an incredibly complex and time consuming process.
The opera here was built and burned down by a fire caused by the gaslights, then rebuilt in wood and burnt down two and a half weeks later (by a firebreathing dragon in one of the performances -- you think they would have seen that coming, but, no), then it was redesigned by Gottfried Semper like this. It was still firebombed (1945) and rebuilt and flooded (in 2002) after that, but the design and decoration has stayed consistent with his design.
And here is the opera itself. Semper was a popular guy and very much in demand, but he was a revolutionary. So when he designed this, he gave the king a royal box way over on the side. The king complained because everyone could see him, but he couldn't see the opera.
So Semper made him another box, this time in the center. The king said "Now I can see, but I can't hear anything". Semper had a good time yanking the king around.
We listened to some pretty heavy Saxon until after midnight, then we crept home and gratefully fell into bed.

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