Music & Dance
FRM | Platform, Festival, Venues
A Region dances to the Fore
FrankfurtRheinMain is increasingly making a name for itself in the German dance scene. The region’s two top players, Frankfurt’s Mousonturm and the Hessian State Ballet in Wiesbaden/Darmstadt, cooperated in launching a dance platform – Tanzplattform Rhein-Main – with lots of activities and a festival for outstanding local and international productions. There’s also the Frankfurt Lab, inviting Mousonturm and university ensembles such as ATW (Giessen) and HfMDK to explore new forms of dance and performance. The city of Mainz with its creative tanzmainz ensemble and festival, is yet another hub of this vibrant scene. Tanzplattform Rhein-Main is also breaking new ground with a day of dance and its Ensemble Mobil, which seeks a more immediate interface with the public. Finally, a lively independent and alternative scene from Implantieren Festival to Antagon action theatre contribute to the region’s dynamic dance and performance landscape.
F | Opera | Oper Frankfurt
Opera House of the Year
Renovation, relocation, new construction? Frankfurt‘s opera house is always the talk of the town. All the more because the opera recently received the annual Opera House of the Year award for the fourth time. No doubt, Oper Frankfurt is among the highest ranking in Germany while under the direction of Bernd Loebe, who took over in 2002. The mix of programmes is excellent: Händel’s operas, an exquisite Merry Widow, and Verdi, of course, as well as many contemporary works. The permanent ensemble, built around Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Claudia Mahnke and Kihwan Sim, as well as the General Music Director Sebastian Weigle are complemented by such celebrated invited artists as Brenda Rae and Źeljko Lućić. What’s more, even passers-by without a ticket can enjoy the high quality of the performances by loudspeakers mounted outside the building (fey.).
DA WI | Hessian State Ballet
Compagnie Pas de Deux
The region is increasingly acclaimed for being a great place for ballet. Frankfurt was the birthplace of the world-famous Forsythe Company and today hosts the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company under Jacopo Godani, its successor. In no way less ambitious is the Hessian State Ballet, which rose more recently from a merger of the dance sections of the state theatres in Wiesbaden and Darmstadt. Drawing from the strength of its two parent companies, and led by the distinguished choreographers Tim Plegge and Bruno Heynderickx, the ensemble has conceived a much acclaimed modern Nutcracker right beside political pieces such as #Mensch (human). The residency programme and the involvement of the independent scene are also very remarkable.
F | On Stage | Mousonturm
ESTABLISHED AND EXPERIMENTAL
Mousonturm is widely known for presenting avantgarde local and international performing artists, such as Forced Entertainment or Rimini Protokoll. Indeed, the independant artists’ house has stayed the course of being daring for the entire 30 years of its existence. It tackles conventions and keeps on recalibrating our understanding of performing arts ... such with incognito lectures in McDonald’s restaurants or a group of moles riding an escalator! Its repertoire is broad, ranging from concerts, political art events, performances in urban spaces, to dance trainings and workshops. It also likes to promote emerging artists, such as recent grads of Frankfurt’s University for Performing Arts (HfMDK) or Giessen’s Institute for Applied Theatre Studies (ATW), and collaborate with other art centres such as Frankfurt Lab. Hence, what was once the tower (Turm) of a former soap factory is today a well-established art venue that has remained raw and experimental.
FRM | Beethoven 2020
A City Lush with Beethoven
Paavo Järvi, conductor of Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic – currently considered Germany’s best – once declared: ‘Beethoven, that’s God!’ This kind of fascination may explain why Beethoven’s anniversary year 2020 is being ushered in before the year has even started. This September, Alte Oper presents the impressive music festival Eroica with talks, workshops, a children’s day and concerts dedicated to Beethoven’s eponymous symphony devoted to democracy. Next year, then, Alte Oper will have the honour to give the stage to Järvi’s orchestra, to perform all nine Beethoven symphonies. Other 2020 highlights include Simon Rattle’s ensemble, to fly in from London, and Austrian artist-in-residence Rudolf Buchbinder. Our magazine’s pick, for this year still, is Kronberg Academy. The reputable talent mill from the Taunus will perform all of Beethoven’s violin and cello sonatas as part of its Searching for Ludwig festival.
Taunus | Music | Kronberg Academy
The Young Menuhins
Kronberg is a small but affluent suburb of Frankfurt, located at the foot of the placid Taunus ridge. Formerly known for its artists’ colony of painters, which remains to this day, the cultural gem of today is the Kronberg Academy. The school is a veritable mill for young musical talents, offering highlevel violin and cello master classes and captivating audiences with small-but-fine classical concerts. This year, too, five famous virtuosos and educators Ana Chumachenco, Mauricio Fuks, Mihaela Martin, Gerhard Schulz and Pavel Vernikov will be giving violin lessons to students coming from all over the world. Every two years, the Kronberg Academy Festival also enchants the audience with a special musical firework, this year in the focus: Ludwig van Beethoven (Sep–Oct 2019) (loe).
OF | Location | Hafen 2
Sheep and Screens
Open air cinema and concerts, hanging out by the water, child care ... plus grazing sheep? You never thought you’d ever find such a place in or near Frankfurt, did you? But Hafen 2 in the brownfields of Offenbach’s transformed harbour front offers exactly that: coffee shop, concert shed, green meadows, fine dune sand, benches and folding chairs. In the summer, families as well as plenty of offbeat types gather in this biotope to watch films, attend concerts or simply have good old casual chinwags while the kids play in the sand or gawk at the sheep. In the line-up: foreignlanguage films, singer-songwriters, World Cup and European Championship football ... No need for a brolly even, since events are moved inside the shed during off-season or when it rains.
FRM | Events | Rentrée
TOUR D’HORIZON OF THE ART
In France, transitioning from summer to fall is couched in a beautiful collective experience called la rentrée. Meaning ‘the return’, it refers to a shared reawakening following the summer months and holidays. FrankfurtRheinMain, too, has its rentrée. Theatres are starting the season with an open house day, where people can look behind the scenes and get sneak previews. Oper and Schauspiel Frankfurt will start on September 1, while Mousonturm is marking its rentrée with a festival: Unfuck my future. How to live together in Europe. The visual arts are likewise preparing to kick off the season. Frankfurt’s galleries have organised a small festival and weekend of openings clustered around Fahrgasse. This gives way to the big museum openings of fall 2019, to feature three artists from three epochs: Rembrandt’s etchings (Darmstadt), Making Van Gogh (Städel) and Lee Krasner (Schirn). One last tip: many Frankfurt museums offer free admission on the last Saturday of the month.