On Saturday, the theatre threw open its doors to the public, and, on an occasionally sunny and rather cheerful day, the public streamed in to enjoy it. It's a German thing, I think, and something which other countries would do well to note and copy - there was a distinct local feeling of pride in "our" theatre, a definite feeling of relaxed ownership as people strolled in and out of the auditoriums and the foyers, and were given guided tours around (everything was free).
In the square outside, set painters were allowing children to create riotously coloured pictures, and taping them on the theatre walls in a mad display. Actors were strapping on their guitars, and by turns moody and hilarious, were belting out rock numbers at the tops of their voices. Beer and sausages, naturally, helped proceedings along.
I watched a "fashion show" of costumes in fascination; half at the glorious creations on display, and half at the little girls beside me, who were spellbound (especially by the huge diamond-studded princess's wedding dress - that was greeted with audibly awed indrawn breaths!). There were lots of children, and their parents were patiently explaining various aspects of the theatre to them - a great introduction. I have to admit I was evilly anticipating my friend's entrance - the poor girl had drawn the short straw and was down to enter in the fat suit she wore in a production last year, which she had to strip off - in full public view and aided only by striptease music - to reveal frilly undies and fishnets. In the event she did wonderfully and it went without a hitch (although my karma has probably, as another friend pointed out, taken a severe battering). Some of the costumes were absolutely astonishing - there's a huge amount of imagination and craft here, which feels very encouraging. I have had a lot of costume disappointments in the past, however (details another day, maybe) so I shan't hold my breath when it comes to my turn.
My friend and I wandered along to a jazz / world music concert in the foyer - it was so packed, the only seats we could find (and we needed to sit down for a while, we'd been drinking beer in the sunshine, laughing as one person after another came to congratulate her on her star turn and gorgeous legs) were tucked down the side. Fabulous music, an immensely talented jazz quartet, and some happily energetic cabaret turns from chorus members. Toe-tapping stuff - literally - a tiny old lady sitting by me couldn't stop wriggling up and down - she was evidently itching to get up and dance!
To cap the day off, there was a concert on the main stage in the early evening, again free to anyone who could nab a seat. There were highlights from the forthcoming opera season, presented in a chatty, genial manner by the music director, who was conducting. It was relaxed and pleasant and a great way to sell the new season. The couple next to me actually gasped in excitement when she mentioned Salome. The whole thing was definitely a success, and it gave me such pleasure to think that I was a part of it.
Naturally, the photo has absolutely nothing to do with the above subject (I forgot to take my camera!). It's the interior of a slide I found inside a sort of windmill up on the higher bit of the city. I felt a trifle silly climbing up there and whooshing down, at my age, but heck, there was no-one to see! Interestingly, there appears to be a dragon's tail waiting for me at the bottom. The dragon had, however, disappointingly quite disappeared once I landed with an undignified bump and opened my eyes...