Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013
Why Go Now Forget cake and candles—for Richard Wagner's 200th birthday in 2013, it seems all of Germany is celebrating its native son and most-famous composer. Some of the most exciting celebrations will take place in Leipzig, where Wagner was born on May 22, 1813; look for performances at the Richard Wagner Festival from May 16-26; the opening of the Richard Wagner museum in May; and Wagner-themed exhibits at the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of City History). During his tenure as music director of the Royal Court of Saxony in Dresden, Wagner premiered Rienzi and Tannhäuser at the Semperoper (Semper Opera House); fittingly, an anniversary concert will be held here on May 21. Nearby, in Graupa, another new museum opens in January. Every year, Bayreuth draws opera lovers to the Wagner Festival in July and August; this year promises to be especially spectacular with a new production of his most celebrated work, The Ring of the Nibelung. –by Salwa Jabado
Where to StayWhile in art nouveau Leipzig, the Hotel Fürstenhof Leipzig offers 19th-century charm under the reliable Starwood Luxury Collection brand. In Dresden, be sure to see the Green Vault at the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace) and then spend a royal night at Kempinski Hotel Taschenbergpalais Dresden, the former home of Saxony's crown princess.
Insider TipMore information on Wagner happenings can be found here, here, and here. To round out a classical music experience, visit Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn sites in Leipzig or tour King Ludwig II's fairy-tale castles Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Linderhof for a look at Wagner's influence on his greatest patron.
Word of Mouth For Fodorite easytraveler, it's "Wagner's orchestral music" that makes his operas so great. "The horns especially. I seem to remember that Wagner even invented/modified some horns to bring out the exact sound he wanted.… [I]f you enjoy opera, you'll enjoy The Ring."
When to Go Events will reach their peak in Leipzig, in May, but all of 2013 will yield Wagner-focused events.
Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Germany Travel Guide.