From Prussia with Love

Kenneth Asch on Berlin's opera house, the Deutsche Staatsoper.

War and Communism have come and recently gone from under the patient spreading branches of its double row of trees, but Berlin's Unter den Linden has lost little of the essential magic which for centuries has attracted visitors and pleasure-makers from near and far. Stretching away from the newly renovated Brandenburg Gate, the shaded avenue reveals a more grandiose personality as it nears the River Spree. Here, where once loomed the city's main fortifications, Frederick the Great erected a building which – under his own rubric, 'how a Prince wins fame for himself – was to be central to his concept of a 'German Athens'.

The Deutsche Staatsoper, the opera house of the German state, this December, celebrates its 250th anniversary with a lavish state ceremony.

President of the German Bundesrepublik Richard von Weizsacker will speak. Daniel Barenboim will play and conduct Beethoven's 'Choral Fantasie', and works by Frederick the Great and Carl Heinrich Graun will also be on the programme.

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