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December 2002 - Nr. 12


The Editor
Winter Air
Elizabeth Kuehn
Hier O.K. Berlin!
K-W and Beyond
Art Transcends...
Herwig Wandschneider
Never Forgotten
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Cultural Landsmarks...
To the Comic Book
Christkind Eröffnet...
Märklin's Model Trains
Familienfest Weihnachten
Not Just Fun
Begehbares Bild
Renewable Energy
Karneval Eröffnung
Airship Inventor
Loriot Begeistert
Peter Ustinov

Dresden Cultural Landmarks Reopen

  TWIG - Three months after the most dramatic floods in more than a century shut down the historic center of Dresden, the celebrated Semper Opera and Gallery of Old Masters have reopened. With these two landmarks rounding out Dresden’s array of cultural offerings once again, officials hope to see a rapid revival of tourism in the city. The extravagant Semperoper sustained an estimated US$27 million in damage during the August flooding of the Elbe River. Costs to the Dresden State Art Collection, with its renowned Old Masters wing, were assessed at US$20 million.

Museum-goers streamed through the entrance to the Alte Meister gallery in the Zwinger Palace as its doors were thrown open at noon on Saturday (November 9). Visitors will have the chance to see more paintings than usual this fall, since works evacuated from storage space on the lower levels are being displayed temporarily in the upper exhibition halls. Museum workers and volunteers rescued some 4,000 Rembrandts, Rubens and other old masters during the crisis.

On Saturday evening, the Ballet Dresden received a standing ovation for its performance of "Illusions - Like Swan Lake," a piece by American-born choreographer John Neumeier that had been scheduled for August 13 as the Semper Opera’s season premiere. The August performance was called off when the nearby Elbe and Weisseritz rivers broke their banks and surged into the city center. The rising floodwaters filled the lower levels of the opera house, destroying hundreds of costumes, 8,000 pairs of shoes and several grand pianos, as well as the opera’s stage hydraulics, ventilation and lighting systems. Many of the opera’s technical systems are still out of order and will undergo further repairs during a winter break in January and February.

Georg Milbradt, governor of Saxony, reminded visitors at both venues of the devastating effects of the August flooding, the worst natural catastrophe to have struck Dresden and the surrounding area in memory. The floods caused 21 deaths and enormous economic losses in Saxony alone, noted the governor. Through generous support, the state is recovering. "We have discovered that we are not alone," said Milbradt. "From the first day we wanted Dresden to become a cultural jewel of Saxony, Germany and Europe once again," noted the governor. That its most important cultural centers have reopened, he said, is "a small miracle, with a great deal of work behind it."

The opening of the opera house and the art gallery marks the start of "Cultural Quarter Dresden," a public relations campaign for these attractions as well as the Dresden State Theater, the city’s synagogues, and its baroque Church of Our Lady, being rebuilt nearly 60 years after its destruction during World War II.


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