Days 33-34: Berlin Dome and Comic Opera in Berlin

The Berliner Dome, like the Berlin TV Tower, shares a prominent place in the city’s skyline. And, like the Tiergarten, this visit gave me a chance to slow down and absorb its inherent beauty . While it is a “Protestant” Church and not a “Catholic” church, it nevertheless was highly ornate in its presentation. In 1905, it was a last gasp for the Prussian monarchy. It was restored in the 1990s.

The main chancel apse had three impressive panels showing the birth, cruxifiction, and resurrection of Christ. A large organ in the niche to the left made me want to return to hear it one day. The basement was a bit creepy as it held the crypts of many of the Hollenzollern lineage, including that of King William Friedrich (1861).

I subjected myself to an adventure at the Comic Opera, where I saw Massenet’s “Cedrillon”. It was loosely based on the story of Cinderella, so a bit of a ho-hum with nice music. The cast was subtly baudy (if that’s possible). It reminded me of the opera-goers’ version of Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco. The chorus or corps de ballet definitely provide the tongue-in-cheek comic element. Despite top-notch singing and a pretty good stage set, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The opera house itself was worth seeing. It still conveyed the grandeur and aura of the past,  but sadly was a bit shabby and in need of a face lift. A surprise inspiration were large video screens in the lobby, that show current performances and cast lists. Cedrillon is replicated here. The last photo below shows the actual evening’s cast and curtain call.

In keeping with the comic opera theme, I found a few amusing moments in my month’s travels in Berlin:

Photos, above:

1. Upper Left: Temporary repair work in front of a subway elevator: An example of solid German engineering and construction????

2. Upper Right: A vending machine in Alexander Platz that sells books. Either this is wishful thinking (although 9-10 Euros not a bad deal) or the rest of the world hasn’t caught on yet. It does give me reassurance that Germany is a unique country and its tradition of the the printed page endures. Long live Gutenberg, the Bible, and romance novels spearheaded by Goethe!!

By the way, vending machines do not mean markup. For convenience, the Ritter wafer packets are only .90 Euros in the machine, but 1.10 Euros in shops. You can often find what you need, when you need it, without getting ripped off.

3. Lower Left:  Fußball and all its trappings are the rage here, especially this month during the Euro Cup finals. It’s hard not to get excited about teams like Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Ireland, Turkey, Belgium and Germany, of course.

4. Lower Right:  Y-U-C-K!!!! I’ve had to stare at this every day in my U-tube station. They finally censored it this week with tasteful black and white, wordless Annie Lebowitz-type photo panels, but I strangely found myself missing the former grossness.



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