Baden-Baden has a busy annual schedule of concert, dance, and dramatic performances. A lot of events are held in the 1870s Kurhaus, Kaiserallee 1 ([tel] 07221/9070; www.kurhaus-baden-baden.de); one wing hosts Baden-Baden’s casino, the Spielbank.
The baroque Theater am Goetheplatz, Goetheplatz ([tel] 07221/932700; www.theater.baden-baden.de), presents opera, ballet, and drama productions. It opened auspiciously with the world première of the Berlioz opera “Beatrice et Benedict” in 1862. The Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Philharmonic Orchestra of Baden-Baden) usually performs in one of the largest concert halls in Germany, the Festspielhaus, in the Alter Bahnhof. In the summer Baden-Baden hosts Musikalischer Sommer Festival, usually conducted during an 8-day period in mid-July, as well as many outdoor concerts in greenspaces around town. For tickets to any cultural or musical event within Baden-Baden, contact either the tourist office ([tel] 07221/275200), which sells tickets on its premises, or the Ticket Service Trinkhalle, in the Trinkhalle on Kaiserallee ([tel] 07221/932700).
If you think Baden-Baden is just another stodgy European spa, ponder this. Way back in 1927, the city’s Kurhaus hosted the German Chamber Music Festival. Some avant-garde upstarts stole the show: Composer Kurt Weill and playwright/director Bertolt Brecht premiered their collaboration “Mahagonny Songspiel,” an intoxicating blend of contemporary classical styles, jazz, and cabaret starring Weill’s wife, the singer/actress Lotte Lenya. The three became major forces in 20th-century theater and film. Lenya is most fondly remembered by American audiences for her role in the James Bond thriller “From Russia with Love,” in which she plays Rosa Klebb, a villainous Russian agent with a venom-laced blade stashed in the toe of her shoe. The music they introduced to the Baden-Baden audiences that night in 1927 ushered in the antiopera, opera-like works that defy convention and include such modern classics as “Three Penny Opera,” “Company,” “West Side Story,” and “Rent.” The tune that brought the house down, “Alabama Song,” is a perennial favorite, and one of the Doors’ biggest hits.
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