An opera festival in Berlin, gravity-defying bikes in Saarbrücken, a big glass globe full of goodies, ancient Russian icons and the writings of German exiles. There's plenty to do in Germany in this cold and wet season.
The Berlin State Opera House hosts a festival of baroque opera
Baroque and roll in Berlin. The Berlin Staatsoper, the state opera house, is an architectural gem on Berlin's famous avenue Unter den Linden. What better setting for a two-week spectacle of baroque opera under the title Cadenza Baroque Days. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 28, the Staatsoper will delight opera aficionados with concerts, discussions and workshops, the centerpiece being two spectacular 17th-century operas; Il ritorno d'ulisse in patria by Claudio Monteverdi, the father of opera, was first performed in Venice in 1640, and Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, itself first staged in 1689. Also not to be missed are the ‘Talents’ workshops where young music students will be performing 17th-century instrumental pieces and receiving vocal and instrumental training.
All the action, none of the exercise. It may be too cold, wet and miserable to be out there riding yourself but that shouldn't stop you enjoying the thrill of mountain biking from the comfort of a ringside seat. At the International Mountain Bike Indoor Trials in Saarbrücken between Feb. 25 and Feb. 27, the world's best are pitted against the unforgiving forces of balance, speed and control. Contestants don't just ride; they skip and jump over all manner of obstacles with the greatest of ease, sometimes at dizzying heights. But spectators attending the event will quickly realize that there is more to the sport than just tricks and stunts. With international titles up for grabs, the audience can expect the very best in mountain biking – from a comfortable, dry seat.
Dortmund welcomes the Global game. What's 20 meters high, weighs 60 tons and hosts some of soccer's most coveted objects? The FIFA World Cup Globe , a huge glass soccer ball, that's what. An integral part of the artistic and cultural program organized by the German government and the 2006 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee, the Globe has been touring the host cities since last year but Dortmund becomes the first stop of 2005 when the circus comes to town from Feb. 22 to April 17. As well as featuring interactive games, virtual installations and panoramic projector shows, the big ball also plays host to David Beckham’s boot, the World Cup trophy that will be presented to the winners in the year 2006, and the ball which German hero Helmut Rahn slammed into the Hungarian goal twice in the 1954 World Cup in Bern. With free entry for kids under 10 years old, and ticket prices of between just €1 and €2 for everyone else, the FIFA World Cup Globe is a must for those who can't wait for the games to begin.
Icons from the Middle Ages. The treasures of Novgorod, one of the most important commercial centers in Europe during the Middle Ages, come to Hamburg's Bucerius Kunst Forum in February. The town, south-east of modern St. Petersburg, was located at the crossroads of ancient trade routes and in the late 10th century, after its conversion to Christianity, it became a renowned center for icon painters. The exhibition "Novgorod – The Golden Age of Icons" includes many masterpieces from the 15th century as well as sculptures, textiles and goldsmith work which provide an overview of some of Russian art's most outstanding works from the medieval period. Open from Feb. 13 to May 16.
Outsiders looking in. A different German perspective of pre-war and war-time life can be found at the Deutsche Bibliothek in Leipzig where two collections of printed and non-printed documents from German-speaking emigrants and exiles during the period from 1933 to 1945 can be found. The Literature of Exile Collection 1933 - 1945 of the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and the German Exile Archive 1933 - 1945 of the German Library in Frankfurt contain printed works written or published abroad by German-speaking emigrants as well as leaflets, brochures and other materials produced in whole or in part by German-speaking exiles. They give an insight into the lives of Germans abroad as they observed their country and events taking place there from abroad. The exhibitions have been open to the public since Jan. 21 and will run until April 30. Many of the works have special resonance now in the context of the recent commemorations regarding the final months of World War Two, including the liberation of Auschwitz and the firebombing of the city of Dresden.