Friday, 17 August: Canaletto – Dresden’s City Festival
This Friday, Dresden welcomes all of its residents and visitors for the opening of the 20th edition of its city festival, named after the Italian artist Canaletto. Bernardo Bellotto, known in Germany and Poland by the nickname of his uncle, Canaletto, lived in Dresden from 1747 to 1758, following an invitation from King August III of Poland. During his stay in the Saxon capital, Canaletto painted numerous scenes of Dresden, thereby immortalizing the beauty of this baroque city as it was prior to its destruction at the end of the Second World War. In the same way as Canaletto’s paintings were a homage to the city’s breath-taking beauty, Dresden’s city festival is a celebration of Dresden as well as the wonderful residents who live here and make this such a great place to live in. For three days, beginning on Friday evening and ending on Sunday, Dresden’s old town transforms itself into Germany’s largest city festival with food stands and stages popping up on every corner. Organizers hope to repeat last year’s positive experience and to welcome over half a million guests into Dresden’s wonderful Altstadt. Due to construction works on the Augustus Bridge, this year’s festival will be restricted only to the old town side of the Elbe, making it rather more compact but still as fun as it always has been. Be sure to come out with your friends this weekend and enjoy the music, the rides, as well as the crowd!
Beginning: Official opening at 7 p.m.; Admission: Free; How to get there: Dresden Altstadt, reachable with all trams except the 6 and 13 to inner-city stations such as Pirnaischer Platz, Postplatz, Prager Str., or Altmarkt.
More information (German): www.canaletto-fest.de/programm
Saturday, 18 August: Salsa Summer Night
Summer, sun, and salsa – all three seem to belong perfectly together and this Saturday as the sun sets you will have the chance to enjoy an unforgettable concert with traditional Cuban music followed by what will probably be the year’s largest salsa party. As part of the palace summer festival, right between the Elbe and Dresden’s Japanese palace, Presion Cubana plans to transform this normally tranquil garden into a huge open air Cuban party! The evening will begin with warm summer rhythms of salsa, merengue, bolero, cha cha cha, and other Latin beats which will certainly make you feel as if you were truly in Havana. With a broad musical spectrum ranging from jazz to pop mixed in with traditional Latin music, lead singer Yhasmany Martin is well-known for giving the audience goose bumps whether singing in English or in Spanish. This Saturday, he will be joined on stage by one of Cuba’s most well-known voices, Vicente Alberto Izquierdo Curbelo. Without a doubt, this is one of the few chances in Dresden this year to listen to such talented Cuban musicians play live. Following the concert, it is time for DJ Andres to take over and to make sure everyone keeps on dancing until late hours. Invite all of your friends, refresh your salsa moves and come out to the garden behind the Japanese Palace for a warm and fun salsa summer night.
Beginning: 8 p.m. ; Admission: Free, donation based; How to get there: Garden behind the Japanisches Palais, Palaisplatz 11, 01097 Dresden; TRAM 9 ‘Palaisplatz’ stop or TRAM 4, 6, 9, 11 ‘Anton-/Leipziger Straße’ stop.
More information (German): www.facebook.com/events/1744528072262500
Sunday, 19 August: Open Air Concert of the Saxon Philharmonic Orchestra
“Thanks God I am back in the countryside… in the lovely region of the Saxon Switzerland and once more I begin to breath as a human as well as an artist.” These were the words written by Richard Wagner to his friend, then leader of Berlin’s Music Newspaper, Karl Gaillard in May of 1846. In this magical place, Wagner had everything he needed to find his inner peace, something made clear by the fact that the entire composition draft for his opera Lohengrin came to him in a sprout of inspiration during a short stay near Pirna. In remembrance of this eventful stay and to celebrate Wagner’s 200th birthday, the Jagdschloss, where he composed the Lohengrin opera, was entirely renovated and reopened in 2013, today hosting a current exhibition about the composer’s life as well as his connection to the state of Saxony. This Sunday, the Saxon Philharmonic Orchestra will perform right outside the Jagdschloss in a unique open air concert. Despite the location, works of Wagner are not on the program. The orchestra will perform works by Schubert, Mozart and Mendelssohn Bartholdy, including Bartholdy’s very fitting theatre composition based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Beginning: 7:45 p.m.; Admission: 8,90 EUR Regular, 7,90 EUR Reduced; How to get there: Richard-Wagner-Stätten Graupa, Tschaikowskiplatz 7, 01796 Pirna
More information (German): https://www.wagnerstaetten.de/Veranstaltungen/Aktuell/468/?vid=6792
Monday, 20 August: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Although King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard originally formed as a band in Melbourne in 2010, their music sounds very much like a lost relic from the psychedelic explosion of the 60s. The Australian psychedelic rock band consists of seven band members playing the traditional rock instruments such as the guitar, bass, keyboards, harmonica, and drums. They are well-known for their highly energetic performances as well as their prolific recording output, having released five studio albums in 2017 alone, adding to the other eight albums the band had already released throughout their first six years of existence. Since 2015, the band hosts their very own “Gizzfest”, a sort of tour annually traversing the Australian continent via Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. A concert by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is always a remarkable experience. Clearly, these are people who not only make music, but also live it and breathe it. Their legendary live shows has taken them around the globe, selling out venues wherever it is they go. Perhaps it is the perfect coordination of all seven musicians, perhaps it is frontman Stu Mackenzie’s energy on stage or simply the sound of their sometimes apparently handmade instruments. Whichever it is, they are just an unbelievably phenomenal band, one of the highlights of Dresden’s musical calendar.
Beginning: 7 p.m.; Admission: 27,50 EUR; How to get there: Alter Schlachthof, Gothaer Str. 11, 01097 Dresden; TRAM 4, 9 ‘Alter Schlachthof’ stop.
Tuesday, 21 August: Choir Night
Another event from the Palace Summer festival behind Dresden’s Japanese Palace makes it to the list of this week’s tips but this event really could not have been left out. Performing for the second time in the palace gardens this year, Dresden’s Jazz Choir is back for another moving performance except this time they are not alone. In a format similar to that of their own choir festival, in which the Dresden based choir invited other choirs from Germany to perform, this evening will also include concerts by the Conference of S(w)ing Choir and Dresden’s Kneipenchor. The first was founded in 1999 and also sings international jazz choir songs under the leadership of Sabine Helmbold. The choir, made up by 30 singers with ages ranging from 18 to 64 years old also sings original arrangements by Helmbold as well as songs from pop, soul, and gospel music in ambitious arrangements by famous choir composers such as Kirby Shaw and Matthias Becker. The Dresden Kneipenchor, on the other hand, was originally founded primarily by former singers from Dresden’s Evangelical College, who had the goal of singing songs which were both fun and with which they could identify themselves. Doing so has taken them to concerts in various venues around Dresden, such as the theatre in Hellerau, at the Bunte Republik Neustadt festival, as well as in various of the city’s pubs and bars. Now, all three will take onto the stage together for an unforgettable choir concert which you cannot miss!
Beginning: 8 p.m.; Admission: Free, donation based; How to get there: Garden behind the Japanisches Palais, Palaisplatz 11, 01097 Dresden; TRAM 9 ‘Palaisplatz’ stop or TRAM 4, 6, 9, 11 ‘Anton-/Leipziger Straße’ stop.
Wednesday, 22 August: In the Middle of the River
In the Middle of the River is a 2018 American and German co-production, however, it tells a very American story, which repeats itself on a daily basis in the underlayers of New Mexico society. In Breaking Bad country, lack of perspective, forlornness, alcohol, meth, violence and aggression are all parts of daily life for many of its residents. The movie tells the story of Gabriel, a veteran who returns home to face the war within his own dysfunctional family. He wants to find out the mysterious reasons behind his sister’s mysterious death, which he believes has something to do with a local drug lord. After returning from Iraq, he must now live with his grandmother, with his other sister, and with the now orphan children. He must also live with his grandfather, who comes home late at night drunk only to beat up his grandmother, as well as his brother, who upon reaching his teenage years has now joined a gang. Now a war invalid, he receives pain killers paid by Obamacare, however, he is not able to pay for his rehab. Everyone is dependent and everyone appears to be lost, each finding a different way to try to break free, mainly through violence. The movie has been very well-received by audiences, with very well-coordinated camera work and exceptional performances by the actors who depict such deep themes in this moving drama.
Beginning: 9 p.m.; Admission: 6 EUR; How to get there: Thalia Cinema, Görlitzer Str. 6, 01099 Dresden; TRAM 13 ‘Görlitzer Str./Nordbad’ stop.
Thursday, 23 August: Afterwork Party
Work day in-day out can often be very tiring and stressful. Many times by the time one has reached Thursday, all that crosses the mind is the wish that the week comes to an end so that the next weekend arrives. So as to help you let go from the daily work stress and in preparation for the weekend, the Carolaschlöschen restaurant in Dresden’s Großer Garten organizes weekly after-work parties on Thursday evenings. Entrance is free until 9 p.m., afterwards entry costs 7 euro but the party does go on until 1 in the morning. With the wonderful view over the small Carola lake in Dresden’s largest city park, the location offers the perfect opportunity to let go from the daily routine, even if for just a few hours. So why not put on your party clothes and dancing shoes right after calling it a day this Thursday and heading down to the Carolaschlösschen? Be sure to bring friends with you and get ready to get to know many new people. Hopefully getting up to work on Friday will still be manageable but at least then you’ll be only one day’s work away from the real weekend!
Beginning: 7 p.m.; Admission: Free until 9 p.m.; How to get there: Carolaschlösschen, Querallee 7, 01219 Dresden; TRAM 9, 13 or BUS 75 ‘Querallee’ stop.