Friday 19 September 2014

The Wagnerian Soprano

Alex is new to the Insider team bringing with her a burst of fresh energy.  It is quite endearing to see the weekly wave of reviews flow into Tripadvisor following her tours to Dresden.  Guests gush with gratitude for both her knowledge and attentiveness.  Her passion stems from the rich musical history of both Berlin and Dresden.  You see, the city itself did not win her over so quickly...

I first visited Berlin in 2010 when I was an exchange student at the Universit├Ąt Koblenz-Landau. We took the train to Berlin as part of a school trip and it was terrible. Early on I was hit by a cyclist and my camera was smashed, the woman leading our group made a point of directing my attention to EVERY SINGLE monument to a Jewish person/place/event that has ever been in this city (fascinating, but was information dumping at its finest) and I was constantly told off for being too loud... Honestly not a good impression. I knew nothing about Berlin, had no expectations, but genuinely didn't enjoy my first time. I think that was what surprised me the most. Thankfully, my tastes have matured and I now appreciate Berlin for the wonderful city it is today. 

A relic of former East Berlin that is quite notorious is an abandoned amusement park in the middle of the vast Treptower Park.  It has become something of a pilgrimage destination for residents and visitors alike.  Alex has her own special relationship with this location. 

A bit of Spreepark burnt down recently and that's made me quite sad.  I lived around there so while I was writing my history honours thesis last year it was a kind of happy place; an incredibly creepy sanctuary far away from the Tamburini Riot and discussions of elite British culture where I could amuse myself with thoughts of how terrifying most children probably found the amusement park. 

Though Alex does not only write about opera, she is a singer herself which keeps her very busy when not guiding...
I sing and study.  Right now I'm attempting to learn as many roles and songs as possible so I can be the greatest Wagnerian soprano to have ever graced the stage.  I am also studying a masters of global history at the Free University and Humboldt University so I can contextualise my greatness!
For the time being Alex is quickly becoming known for her superb tour of Dresden.  The city is less then three hours away from Berlin, just a hop, skip and a jump really.  Making that round-trip weekly means becoming familiar with some fairly random sites along the way though.

We pass much of interest between Berlin and Dresden, but something I love is the Tropical Islands. Housed in the largest free standing hall in the world, the Tropical Islands is a resort/rainforest complex in the middle of nowhere. The site itself was used by the Luftwaffe from 1938-1945 as a military airfield for the Brand-Guben pilot training school and later front line operations, before being occupied by the Soviets from 1945 who used it as a military air base. Post-reunification the site was abandoned and used for waste disposal, until in 2000, the giant dome was build with the intention of creating airships. This project failed so they turned it into a swimming pool. Naturally.  

Just like Brian, Alex can not deny the importance of The Threepenny Opera in connection to Berlin.  With three opera houses the city offers a multitute of inspiration.

Really, the work I associate right now with Berlin is Dostal's operetta 'Clivia' because I'm still blown away by the Komische Oper's production this year. AMAZING. My life was changed that night.

Well there you have it!  Is there a better place to end then with a life changing experience?

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