Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci
Music at historical places
Music and dance, theatre and opera have traditionally been fostered in the residences of the House of Hohenzollern. For us, this has always been a wonderful source of inspiration to revive the fascinating unity of the fine arts – architecture and landscape gardening, painting and statuary, music, literature and theatre. Every year, outstanding artists from all over the world journey to Potsdam and Sanssouci, where they perpetuate this artistic tradition. They fill the unique beauty of the Royal concert rooms in Potsdam’s and Berlin’s palaces with the sound of instruments, speech and song.
Prussian sovereigns and, by their order, the best architects and artists created the most beautiful palaces with a unique interior in and around Potsdam. Most of the rooms serve as a museum of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg and can be toured all year. Let us mention here, among others, Frederick II’s concert room and festive halls in the New Chambers and the Palace Theatre in the New Palace, the concert room in the Marble Palace and Frederick William III’s palm hall in the Orangery of the New Garden. The visitor is equally fascinated by the Raffael hall in the Orangery Palace, Sanssouci and Frederick William IV’s collection of paintings which is displayed there, or the ballroom in Babelsberg Palace. Yet the very special instant in which the fine arts unite, when architecture, interior design, painting, and sculpture meld can only be experienced once a year, during the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival. The special flair of the festival’s concerts and opera performances feeds on the harmonic triad of internationally renowned artists that present a carefully selected programme in unique venues.
Landscape can resemble music with its own rhythm, tonality and timbre. Garden areas – gazebos, open-air hedge theatres, Baroque rondpoints or green arcades – entice the visitor into making music or into promenading. Potsdam’s parks with their ingenious fusion of nature and landscape design have always been a place for courtly entertainment, garden festivities and musical diversion. Outside the Royal park grounds, the performance of serenades and music at night also has a long tradition. When, during the music festival, artistic illumination blends with Baroque fireworks and music, an auspicious evening is guaranteed. Such a dream can come true with the »Wandelkonzert« in the New Garden, where the audience promenades from venue to venue, with a concert at the arcaded court house in Babelsberg Park or with the open air concerts at the Orangery Palace in Sanssouci Park. The impressive terraces at the Orangery Palace, that often serve as an illuminated stage for the festival, have attracted thousands of visitors every year.
Prussia’s kings and emperors had palaces built and gardens designed. But numerous churches in Potsdam’s cultural landscape have also been built because of a Royal order or donation. Frederick II gave the French Church to the Huguenots, the Weavers’ Church to the Bohemian weavers in Babelsberg. The Church of Peace in Sanssouci Park was built under Frederick William IV and Crown Prince Frederick William and his wife Victoria initiated the extension and reconstruction of the Bornstedt Church. Emperess Auguste Victoria, however, became the founder of various new church buildings, one of them the Church of the Redeemer in Potsdam. They all are traditional venues for the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival; each with its own history and each with its own characteristic features.