East German city of Leipzig

  • Written by Steffi Gretschel

2017 will get off to a spectacular start in the East German city of Leipzig with some outstanding exhibitions. After the conclusion of the successful “Great Barrier Reef” panorama, the  Panometer Leipzig will take its visitors on another journey beneath the waves from 28 January 2017 onwards. The 360° panorama "TITANIC - The Promise of Modernity" will revisit the most famous shipwreck of all time and will show the ocean giant as it is today – 105 years after the catastrophe – at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The celebrated panoramic artist Yadegar Asisi is not only presenting the subject of the sinking of the luxury liner, but also exploring the age-old human fascination with mastering nature. www.asisi.de  

The Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, meanwhile, will experience a true whirlwind of colour with its spectacular special exhibition “Nolde and 'Die Brücke'” from 12 February until 18 June 2017. The members of the 'Brücke', a group of young artists including Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, were among the most important representatives of Expressionism and were fascinated by the works of the outstanding painter, Emil Nolde. The collaboration between the group and Nolde, who was almost a generation older, lasted for almost two years from 1906 onwards, and marked the beginning of modern art in Germany. For the first time, the Leipzig museum is telling the story of this fascinating chapter in German art history through 150 paintings, drawings and prints, in an exhibition jointly curated with the Kunsthalle Kiel.  www.mdbk.de

The 'Spinnerei' in Leipzig is unmissable for contemporary art enthusiasts. Eleven leading galleries and over 100 studios are now housed within the walls of what was once the largest cotton mill in continental Europe. One of the most famous representatives of the 'New Leipzig School', Neo Rauch, has close connections with the 'Spinnerei': He was one of the first to set up a studio on the site. Three times a year, for the Spinnerei Gallery Tour, all galleries and exhibition spaces open new exhibitions – on 14 January, 29/30 April and 15/16 September 2017 (www.spinnerei.de). It is also well worth making a detour to the nearby 'Tapetenwerk' or the recently re-opened 'Kunstkraftwerk': For the German premiere of the “Hundertwasser Experience” installation, the “Immersive Art Factory”, an international group of artists around the Italian Gianfranco Iannuzzi, have transformed the former heating plant into a colourful, lively and engaging immersive Hundertwasser world. Thanks to the large-scale video installations, visitors can immerse themselves in the works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, painter and architect, until the end of 2017. www.kunstkraftwerk-leipzig.com  

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing his theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This major anniversary of the Reformation will be celebrated in Leipzig with a wide-ranging programme of events – and for good reason: The Saxon publishing city and the largest city in the Luther region of Central Germany played a key role in the distribution of Luther's writings, while the Leipzig Disputation of 1519 proved to seal his break with the Catholic church in Rome. A dozen special exhibitions in Leipzig museums – including the Museum of City History, the Museum of Printing Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts – will illuminate the reformer's work in Leipzig and the surrounding region. A wide range of events and special tours, such as “Luther and Bach” and a “Kirchentag on the Way” (25 to 28 May 2017) will help history to come alive in Leipzig.  The Reformation will also be commemorated through music: With the slogan “A beautiful new song – Music and Reformation”, the Leipzig Bachfest will place Bach's musical reception of Luther at the heart of a varied musical programme, set in historic locations.  www.bach-leipzig.de; www.luther-in-leipzig.de

The ceremonial premiere of Richard Wagner's “Götterdämmerung” at Leipzig Opera in 2016 saw the full staging of the Ring Cycle return to the opera repertoire in the city of Wagner's birth for the first time in over 40 years. Fans can also look forward to the performance of the complete “Ring des Nibelungen” during the Wagner Festival from 28 June to 2 July 2017. During 2017, Leipzig Opera will also be celebrating the 200th anniversary of its Opera Choir with a rich offering of great choral operas and a festival concert together with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, directed by General Musical Director Ulf Schirmer on 17 March 2017. www.oper-leipzig.de; www.richard-wagner-leipzig.de 

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will mark the close of the musical season before the summer break with the traditional, beautiful performance of its popular “Klassik airleben” open-air concerts on 23/24 June 2017. Thousands of concert-goers, equipped with picnic hampers and blankets, will enjoy classical music from “their” orchestra and its outstanding soloists and conductors in a relaxed atmosphere. Today's most renowned baritones, Luca Pisaroni and Thomas Hampson, will honour Leipzig with appearances in 2017 under the musical direction of Alexander Shelley.

In the coming 2017/2018 season, the Gewandhaus Orchestra will be celebrating its 275th anniversary. World-famous birthday guests such as Daniel Barenboim with the Vienna Philharmonic and the pianist Lang Lang will join the celebration with performances in Leipzig. We will also be sending happy birthday wishes to Herbert Blomstedt, former Gewandhaus Orchestra Conductor, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday in 2017. Blomstedt himself will be conducting eight birthday concerts in Leipzig in September and October. The international music world is already excitedly awaiting the arrival of Andris Nelsons in February 2018. At 38 years of age, the celebrated conductor will become the youngest Gewandhauskapellmeister for 150 years. He takes over from Riccardo Chailly, who has led the Gewandhaus Orchestra for the past ten years, during which time it has become one of the five top orchestras in the world. The Gewandhaus will be holding four weeks of concerts to mark the inauguration, with a festival concert as the high point on 11 March 2018. www.gewandhausorchester.de

Information, travel offers, room reservations:
Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, Tourist-Information, Katharinenstr. 8, 04109 Leipzig, Phone: +49 (0)341 7104-260, e-mail: info@ltm-leipzig.de, www.leipzig.travel

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