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July 2000

Open Season

A summer of outdoor entertainment

Munich is sometimes called Italy’s northernmost city. Indeed, it has an almost Mediterranean feel to it when its inhabitants spill out into its streets and parks in summer months. While cafés stake their territories on sidewalks and beer gardens turn into a second home for many locals, public parks and squares discover their true calling as outdoor concert venues, movie theaters and festival grounds.

Munich’s most majestic square is, without a doubt, Königsplatz. Framed by a number of Neoclassical temples, it provides the ideal setting for some of the most glamorous performances. The most striking building on Königsplatz is the Propylaeum, which was built in the mid-19th century and is a copy of the Propylaeum on the Acropolis in Athens. The annual staging of Carl Orff’s opera Carmina Burana (14.7) incorporates the temple into its dramatic setting. A 17m-high tower, giant light projections and spectacular pyrotechnical effects as well as an ensemble of singers, dancers and acrobats make this one of the most exciting opera performances of the year. As a special treat before the opera, which can’t start before dusk because of its light show, there will be a concert given by violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy, the enfant terrible of classical music. Together with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra, he will perform his interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The double concert will be followed by yet another highlight the next day (15.7), when Spanish star tenor Plácido Domingo, together with soprano Ana Maria Martinez, will perform arias and duets from operas, operettas and musicals. But Königsplatz is not exclusively a haven for classical music. This summer the plaza will also be the site of concerts by Elton John (8.7), a Cuban night with the Buena Vista Social Club (9.7) — including Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and the Afro Cuban All Stars. In addition, the annual outdoor movie festival will show blockbusters and cult films on a 290-sq-m screen (17-27.7,, and the youth festival Oben Ohne will feature hip hop music and graffiti art (23.7).

The Feldherrenhalle on Odeonsplatz provides another dramatic backdrop for outdoor concerts. For the first time ever, the Kulturreferat of the city has organized two outstanding classical concerts on the square: Lorin Maazel will conduct the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra playing Mahler’s Titan symphony and Ravel’s Bolero (1.7) and James Levine will conduct the Munich Philharmonic (2.7). See www.klassik-am-odeonsplatz for more information. Ticket prices for events on Odeons- and Königsplatz are DM 38 to DM 275, but Munich also offers first-class outdoor performances for which you won’t pay one pfennig. As part of the Munich Opera Festival, the Bavarian State Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, will give a free Wagner concert on Max-Joseph-Platz in front of the Stadtsoper (8.7). It is followed on July 9 by Verdi’s opera Don Carlo, which will be performed inside the opera house and shown on monitors in the square outside. A third festival event is Trompeten von Jericho, a concert of trumpets, trombones, clarinets, saxophones and other wind instruments (19.7).

The Brunnenhof courtyard of the Residenz, just around the corner from the opera, is the site of numerous outdoor concerts of all musical genres. Superb acoustics and an intimate setting perhaps make this Munich’s best outdoor concert venue, and, in the case of rain, the event is simply moved to the Herkulessaal. This year’s scheduled concerts include: Jazz in the Night with Chris Barber (7.7), Spanish guitar music (16.7), Gospel Summer Night (28.7) and a Cuban Night (1.8).

You might also want to venture out into the city’s parks for more outdoor events. The Seebühne in the Westpark, an impressive amphitheater seating an audience of 1,000, features a couple of concerts as well as daily movie screenings of recent hits, such as American Beauty and such all-time classics as The Blues Brothers (15.7-13.8). For a schedule, visit More outdoor events will be held at the Würminsel in the Klostergarten Pasing, including a Spanish flamenco evening (3.8) and a Russian summer night (11.8). For a detailed list of alfresco entertainment see the Open Air section of "What’s Up" in this issue. <<<

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