Wagner and the upper foyer in Frankfurt

Inside the upper foyer (Salon im Dritten Rang) of the Frankfurt Opera there is a piano on a small stage. Recitals and theme evenings are often held up here on Tuesdays, when the big stage is not available because that’s the technicians’ night off.

Outdoors by the upper foyer

When the weather is good, this is a nice place to sit and have a drink before the performance, and look out at all the banks and big companies that are hopefully sponsoring the opera.

People in the upper foyer, 2004

But the weather isn’t always so calm, as I learned during a performance of one of the Wagner operas in the 1990s. Just before one of the intermissions there was a tremendous thunderstorm on stage, with thunder, lightning, singers pretending to be blown around the stage by gale force winds and a 110-piece orchestra whipping up the appropriate music.

When we stumbled numbed and bleary-eyed out into the intermission, we discovered that there was a real thunderstorm going on right outside the window of the upper foyer, at least as spectacular as the one on stage.

If Wagner hadn’t died more than a century earlier, he would certainly have taken credit for this magnificent spectacle.

My photos in this post are from 2004. I revised the text in 2023.

See also: Operas by Richard Wagner (1813-1883).

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