Richard Wagner ist Leipziger - Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH

Augustusplatz 9, D-04109 Leipzig
 
Date: 07.12.2016

The theatre on the Ranstädter Bastei | Richard Wagner ist Leipziger - Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH

 

 
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The theatre on the Ranstädter Bastei (known as the Old Theatre)

The young Richard Wagner - Leipzig 1813–1834

 
 
 
 
The main entrance to the city, around 1825. The Old Theatre is on the left. The entry to the Brühl can be seen in the background. Wagner’s was located behind this. Coloured etching (Museum of City History, Leipzig)
The theatre on the Ranstädter Bastei was opened on 10th October 1766 with a performance of Elias Schlegel‘s “tragedy Herrmann”, with student Johann Wolfgang Goethe in attendance. The building was destroyed in World War II in 1943 and not rebuilt after 1945 (the central tram station at Goerdeler Ring is on the current site). It was the first purpose-built theatre in Leipzig. The auditorium had a semi-circular layout with three tiers and a gallery. It was designed so that the acoustics would be equally as good in every seat. The construction was financed by the Leipzig merchant Gottlieb Benedict Zehmisch and built by the Dresden architect Georg Rudolph Fäsch 1754/55, based on the model of the small electoral Schauspielhaus in Dresden. In 1817, the Karlsruhe architect Friedrich Weinbrenner gave the theatre a classical West-facing facade. It was in this form that the young Wagner first became familiar with the Old Theatre, as it was known following the new construction of 1866/68 in the current Augustusplatz. Richard’s sisters, Rosalie and Louise Wagner, were temporarily employed there as actresses. Wagner came to be greatly indebted to the patronage of the musical director, Heinrich Dorn; Wagner later referred to his “Paukenschlag Overture” as the “culmination of his follies”. In contrast, his overture and the closing music following the 5th act, composed for the tragedy “King Enzio” by E. Raupach, which was also performed in the Old Theatre, represented a progression. Wagner completed this work on 3rd February 1832. It was first performed on 26th (16th) March 1832 and was regularly repeated in further performances of the piece.
 
 
“[...] that the infamous Overture in B flat major in 6/8 time came to be performed [at the Old Theatre]. During rehearsals, it caused the group of musicians to strike and only Dorn‘s categorical imperative ensured that it would be rigorously rehearsed in the mornings and smoothly performed in the evenings. The drumbeat, recurring every four bars with persistent venom, at first evoked admiration, then annoyance on the part of the audience, and finally uninhibited amusement, not exactly to the delight of the composing student in his final year at St. Thomas School, who, in the lowly darkness of the theatre, was attending the very first performance of his first composition”.

Lange, Walter: Richard Wagner und seine Vaterstadt Leipzig, C.G.W. Siegel‘s Musikalienhandlung (R. Linnemann), Leipzig, 1921, S. 54.
 
A design for the main façade, probably by Friedrich Weinbrenner of Karlsruhe in around1860; a pen and ink drawing showing images of Mercury, Athea, Apollo, etc. in the tympanum.
A design for the main façade, probably by Friedrich Weinbrenner of Karlsruhe in around1860; a pen and ink drawing showing images of Mercury, Athea, Apollo, etc. in the tympanum.
 
 
 
Quelle: Ein Leipziger (Leipzig Cultural Foundation)