Auguststrasse and the Opera

Trip Start May 30, 2009
Trip End Jun 19, 2009

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today's adventure took us to an area of Berlin that is known for its art galleries. This area is located off of Auguststrasse and offers a wide variety of art galleries, shops, and eateries.  We walked through several galleries including one that had work by Imi Knoebel.  The cost of his work ranged from 75,000 euro to 255,000 euros. (I'm not sure what kind of person would wander into a gallery like that and be able to drop that kind of money but I'm sure they exist).

In addition to the art galleries, this part of town also had a neighborly feel.  It was quaint and surrounded by residential apartments.  We walked through a few of the apartment courtyards.  From the street, you walk through an arch in the building that leads to an open courtyard area.  The front part of the building closest to the street blocks away all of the traffic and noise giving it a really peaceful and private community feeling.  These courtyards seem to be fairly common in the nicer residential areas in town.

After a couple hours of exploring we all sat down for lunch at a great Italian restaurant.   I ordered spaghetti and tomato sauce - it was very good.  After lunch, we began the walk back to catch the bus back to the hotel.  On the way, we passed a candy shop where they were making fresh candy.  The wonderful fruity smell was apparent from the street so a few of us walked into the shop to watch the process.  Huge slabs of taffy-like strawberry candy were being pounded and thinned.  Several molds were used to "stamp" the candy into shapes.  It was neat to watch.

We made it back to the hotel around 4pm and I and three of my classmates decided to go to the opera.  We decided to go to the State Opera  - Staatsoper at Unter den Linden.  "Un Ballo in Maschera" (The Masqued Ball) by Giuseppe Verdi  was the production running.  We arrived at the opera thirty minutes in advance and purchased tickets at a reduced student rate for 13 euros - a very reasonable price.  We decided to go to this opera because we had read that the interior of the building was well worth a visit.  The building had been restored and it was beautiful with plush velvet seating, crystal chandeliers and gold trim and ornamentation.  The opera was very good but it had one unexpected element  - the set and costuming were modern.   I felt like the modern elements detracted a bit from the beauty of the production - cheapened it in a sense.   The singing was beautiful though, even with the unusual set and costuming.  The production was about three hours long so by the time it concluded, we were ready to call it a night.
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