Oktoberfest

I don’t like beer or loud parties, so what could be worse than Oktoberfest? At least, that was what I thought when I insisted I would not attend. My fellow Munich Fulbrighters managed to convince me that it was a crime not to visit at least once, though, so I donned a discount dirndl and braved the crowds. As it turned out, there’s a lot to enjoy at the Wies’n, even if you don’t want to drink any beer.

I attended with Eric (another Fulbrighter) and his visiting friend Julia. (In a funny coincidence, it turns out Julia is a Gates-Cambridge Scholar this year, so we ended up meeting several times in Cambridge as well.)

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La clemenza di Tito

This is it, guys. The Mozart opera seria I haven’t stopped singing to myself for the past two years. The one I wrote my Master’s dissertation on. I’ve seen it live before, but never in quite the crazily costumed glory of the Bayerische Staatsoper’s production. Bachtrack secured my tickets, so the review is exclusive to them. Sadly, the editor doesn’t seem to have added photos this time, but you can check out the Staatsoper’s own photos and videos.

Silent Women

When I was looking at the Munich theatre calendar a few weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea. Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau was playing at the Staatsoper. At the same time, a new play called Das schweigende Mädchen was playing at the Kammerspiele. While these probably didn’t have much to do with each other other than the titles, wouldn’t it be fun to see them both and write a joint review?

As it turns out, my brilliant idea was not so brilliant, because I have no clue what happened in Das schweigende Mädchen. It was an unstaged reading, and the lack of stage action made it difficult for me to follow the plot (and also nearly put me to sleep). It doesn’t really help that this contemporary piece was about the NSU trials, which I hadn’t heard of and knew nothing about. It drew parallels (or rather, opposites?) between the trials and the Bible, and the eponymous girl was sometimes the virgin Mary. The characters seemed to be a judge, three angels, Jesus Christ, and two prophets (or maybe they were the same person—they were identically dressed and mimicked each other’s gestures). There was a bit about cats going to heaven. And that is literally everything I can tell you about this play.

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Moors vs. Zombies

Just when I thought German theatre couldn’t get any stranger, the Volkstheater put zombies in Die Räuber.

All I wanted was an evening of cathartic heartbreak. I was prepared for the Volkstheater’s peculiarities.

Messenger ravens in a modern staging? Pretty funny, actually.

A huge nude photo of Karl Moor? OK, I guess.

Definitely-not-in-the-script homosexual undertones? That’s cool.

An Amalia with the world’s strangest fashion sense who likes to “wuther” to Kate Bush music? I can live with that.

Only two robbers in the eponymous band? Awkward, but the actors could sell it, so props to them.

Copious amounts of stage blood when it’s totally unwarranted? I love blood!

An Elvis impersonator in the woods? I’m not a fan, but whatever.

Taxidermied animals and a creepy baby doll on stage? That actually sort of fits the script.

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I’m singing in the choir(s)

(I’m also singing in the rain, but that’s just because I like to sing while I walk, and Munich has been having dismal weather lately.)

I spent my year at Cambridge swearing I would not join a college chapel choir. A free meal and some voice lessons were not worth the commitment of two rehearsals and a service each week. Of course, immediately after arriving in Munich, I joined a church choir (also Anglican) and committed to two rehearsals and a service each week in exchange for voice lessons (and no free meals). Makes perfect sense, right?

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