How German cities, how German cultural life reemerged after the Second World War has interested me for a long time. Earlier on today I was browsing the LIFE photo archive that contains quite a few images relating to the post-war music scence in Germany. Here are some of the treasures I found.
This is the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden in an image from the days shortly after the war. If you watch carefully (you will probbaly want to click on the image to get to a higher resolution), you will see a pedestrian in the left corner of the image, who has stopped to take a look at the bomed-out building. Is he looking at some of the sculptures that have miracolously survived the heavy air raids?
Other places were not as lucky. In Hamburg the opera house had to be partially reconstructed:
This is the model for the new opera house. Lots of glass, open spaces. If 1950s architecture is done well it has a irresistable aura of lightness.
Same building in use (much friendlier, don’t you think?)
Here are two images from Münster. As you can see (once you click on the image to enlarge), the entire structure is built around the remains of two 19th-century residential houses. A very powerful image, especially if one considers the integral role that opera plays in German (bourgeois) society nowadays.
As you can see in the image above, one interesting feature of the post-war opera houses is their conspicuous lack of a middle box. This often exuberantly decorated middle box was in most cases reserved for royal patrons or (ironically) the socialist/communist rulers of the post-war era, as the following image shows:
Thanks to Michael Scott Cuthbert for bringing this wonderful archive to my attention.