A fat swan, head nestled in feathers, greets you at Dresden’s latest cultural landmark on the Wagner pilgrimage, the city’s newest museum dedicated to its hometown hero’s legacy – the Richard-Wagner-Stätten. The paint’s barely dry and the website’s been live for less than 24 hours but its doors open today to worldwide Wagner fetishists.
Swan lovers, welcome. The RW Stätten is a fresh interpretation of a 250-year-old man’s legacy for a 21st century audience. No musty cobwebs here. It's Wagner as a complete artist and, well, dog lover -- there's even mention of his two best pups, Peps and Papo.
The site, a little bit outside of Dresden in Graupa, is in the intimate, pristine Jagdschloss Pirna-Graupa, a stately manor that served as a hunting lodge and buttresses a bucolic pond where ducks battle swans for territory.
Entrance is through a modest bookshop, which rotates a playlist from 24 of Wagner’s operas. Welcome to Valhalla. Choose your adventure, literally – one of five universal leitmotifs (such as “love & hate” and “fear & courage”) can be programmed into a personal keycard that activates interactive,
cutting-edge exhibitions, such as a mesmorizing, kinetic hologram set to Wagner’s operas (we saw a clip from Der Fliegende Hollaender), where ghostly images are projected onto a rotating stage of cardboard cut-outs, behind thick glass.
Across the street is the spartan Lohengrinhaus where Wagner made his first compositional sketches
for Lohengrin oversummering in1946. The former farm leads to an upstairs apartment where Wagner lived with his wife, which has been recreated with period furniture.
We'll continue the circuit today in Wagner’s Leipziger path, wrapped in down and cashmere.
OC’s webprovider’s being cranky, so for now, photos will be uploaded to the Opera Chic twitter.