Floods

“Apparently the Wuppertal theater is under water”—a Telegram message from a friend..


First, it must be said that theaters are far from the worst news from the recent floods. Peoplehave died and towns have been destroyed. Our hearts go out to them. Recovery and rebuildingwill be a huge job. It’s my old theater and it’s close to the normally narrow river from which the city gets its name, and I can well imagine the scene. Now it’s western and southern Germany, but in 2002 it was Dresden and the southeastern part of the country along the Elbe river which had the “Flood of the Century”. My wife worked there from 1999-2001 and we had just moved to Berlin. That flood happened in August and the stage machinery under the stage was ruined, as were thousands of costumes which were also stored down there, and several Steinway pianos in rehearsal rooms down there. The theater was closed for months, but as you can see from the following NYT article, they found a way to get things going by November. the great stage director Harry Kupfer undoubtedly did an amazing job of utilizing Volkswagen’s new factory in Dresden for the show: it was probably the most elaborate set he ever had. Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/20/world/dresden-journal-recovering-from-flood-with-operatic-flourish.html


It was quite a flood, and many low laying smaller theaters were also flooded. In Dresden Neustadt, a famous statue, the “Goldene Reiter”-a helmeted rider atop a rearing horse, on a large pedestal,-was totally submerged. The waters tarnished the whole thing green so locals called it the “Grüne Reiter” for a time. It took years to restore train service to normal, and yet it may pale compared to the recent tragedy.

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