Germany's easternmost state of Saxony is pulling out all of the musical stops in celebration of the 200th anniversary of composer Richard Wagner's birth this year. Wagner spent much of his life in the state, which is honoring the composer with museum openings, festivals, concerts and tours in the cities of Dresden and Leipzig as well as in Graupa, where he composed Lohengrin.
Wagner composed his score for Lohengrin during one of his "summer breaks" in the country suburb of Graupa, where the citizens today are celebrating his stay and composition. The Lohengrin House in Pirna-Graupa has been restored to its original condition of 1840 and—in addition to the exhibition on the opera—visitors can tour the house that has been equipped with listening points about Wagner's ten-week stay. A new permanent exhibition also opened in the nearby hunting lodge where Wagner's life and work is presented in six rooms. Then a cultural trail pulls together all the Wagner-related sites, also including the world's largest Wagner monument, with information on the different stages in Wagner's life. English information on Wagner's time in Saxony can be found in the download brochure "My Dear Swan" on the first page of www.visitsaxony.com.
In Dresden, a special exhibition in the local history museum, "Richard Wagner in Dresden - Myth and Legend" is on view through August 25 and explores the composer's long history with the city and his major influencers from his childhood to his directorship at the royal court. Throughout the whole of 2013, the Semper Opera in Dresden offers a guided tour on Wagner by request. There is also an ongoing exhibition renewed every two months on the Wagner operas: Two walks through pavilions in the upper vestibules allow visitors to enjoy the historic interiors of Semper's first royal court theater in Dresden where Wagner worked and which later burned down. Dresden Marketing offers a brochure called "Where Wagner evolved into WAGNER" at www.dresden.de/dmg.
In Leipzig at the Old St. Nicholas School (right in the middle of the city and next to the courtyard of the 1989 Peaceful Revolution), a new permanent exhibition just opened entitled "Richard Wagner as a Young Man 1813-1834." Almost every night in June and throughout the year there is a Wagner opera or concert, exhibition or symposium taking place in the city. Also underway is a temporary exhibit at the GRASSI Museum for Musical Instruments, "Golden Sounds from the Mystical Abyss - Musical Instruments for Richard Wagner" through January 31, 2014. In homage to this important 200th anniversary, Leipzig Tourism put together a website on the life and times of its famous citizen and this includes a list and description of the events throughout the year in German and English, videos, a chronology of the composer's life, his major accomplishments and information on his works. www.richard-wagner-leipzig.de
Saxony's comprehensive Wagner coverage is only part of the state's celebration of its musical heritage. Leipzig was home to Bach, Telemann, Schumann and Wagner among many other famous musical citizens. The city has started a musical trail where visitors can follow in the footsteps of its musical giants and visit the places where they lived, composed, worked and were inspired. There are a total of 23 stops along the way all within the old town of Leipzig. Visit www.notenspur-leipzig.de for more information.