1 - 7 April 2020: Cultural Events Online
House concerts and readings from the Blue Sofa

Bücherregal als Symbol für Literatur
© Goethe-Institut. Illustration: Katta Rasche.

The arts and culture industry is increasingly going digital these days. To help you keep track of the ever-widening range of live streams and other cultural events available online, we’re posting weekly tips for you here, including everything from cinema and social justice debates to a touch of New York and a whole lot of literature.


BLUE SOFA? YOUR OWN SOFA! The Leipzig Book Fair is normally all about crowds and no end of readings, interviews and discussions. But virtually nothing is normal these days. Which is why the fair’s famous Blue Sofa, upon which writers have been planting their posteriors to present their books for twenty years now, has also gone virtual. These videos show 19 writers talking about their latest books and about the fair, including Lutz Seiler with his new novel Stern 111 (“Star 111”), the winner of this year's Leipzig Book Fair prize. Stern 111 tells the story of a family fragmented by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and subsequently struggling to find their way back together again.
>>> The Blue Sofa goes digital

Wednesday, 1 April
WHO DOES THE WORLD BELONG TO? The question posed in Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle is simple and straightforward, and yet of profound political import. So it wasn’t by chance that Brecht picked this play when his Berliner Ensemble was finally allowed to perform at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in East Berlin back in 1954. The Berliner Ensemble’s latest production of the play can now be seen online until 2 April. The Theater am Schiffbauerdamm is closed until further notice, but its resident Berliner Ensemble are posting videos of their productions online once a week.
>>> Berliner Ensemble
Thursday, 2 April, 8 pm
ARE WE ALL EQUAL? The social isolation resulting from social distancing and holing up at home affects us all – but not equally. In "Let's talk about class #2", writers Hatice Aykün and Annett Gröschner talk about our class society in these times of "Corontine", about social and ethnic origins and power, gender and social barriers, the Ruhr region and East Germany.
Moderators: Daniela Dröscher and Michael Ebmeyer
ACUD Studio, though without a studio audience, of course
>>> ACUD Studio

Friday, 3 April, starts at noon
Too much music, opined many of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s contemporaries upon hearing his opera Hippolyte et Aricie. The complex and sometimes dissonant harmonies were simply over their heads. If you want to give it a hearing yourself, pay a visit to the Staatsoper Berlin website on Friday, where this production of the Baroque opera will be up and running for 24 hours. The music is conducted by Simon Rattle, the opera is directed by Aletta Collins, and the sets are designed by Ólafur Elíasson.
>>> Staatsoper Berlin (Unter den Linden)



Das interkulturelle Magazin looks into migration, integration, cultural diversity, a multifaceted mix of political, economic and social issues. Its background reports, feature stories, interviews and profiles provide in-depth looks at the diversity and complexity of the people living in Germany. Das interkulturelle Magazin points out weaknesses and deficits in integration practice, while also telling positive stories of the successful integration of immigrants into everyday life in German society.​
>>> Das interkulturelle Magazin

Saturday, 4 April
SATURDAY CINEMA? SURE THING! Those confined to quarters and suddenly confronted with the day-to-day issues of domestic family life may find it all the more enjoyable to immerse themselves for a little while in the family frictions of others. In Ich Fühl mich Disco (“I Feel Like Disco”) by Axel Ranisch, high diving instructor Hanno has no patience with his own son, Florian. Florian is a fat daydreamer who listens to schlager (kitschy German pop songs) and isn’t into girls. He’s happiest when his father is not around so he can dance about the flat with his mama in a disco outfit. But one morning, when the buffer between them is suddenly gone, father and son have to learn to get along.
This and other films can be streamed free of charge on the Goethe-Institut's Onleihe digital library.
>>> Onleihe: I Feel Like Disco

Saturday, 4 April, 2pm and Sunday, 5 April, 4pm
ENDANGERED SPECIES IN THE LOCAL LIMELIGHT! Flying off to faraway lands to explore exotic flora and fauna is just not an option these days. Still, even in times of home quarantine it does body and soul good to get some fresh air on a regular basis. And the more you know about nature, the more you discover in nature. So it's a good thing Fräulein Brehms Tierleben (“Miss Brehm’s Animal Life”) is online now. It’s the world’s only theatre for endangered native wildlife, and it offers infotainment for Homo sapiens of every age – i.e. not just adults. You can enjoy this entertaining blend of science, field research and theatre live on YouTube.
>>> Fräulein Brehms Tierleben on YouTube

Sunday, 5 April, 7 pm
HÖLDER WHO? Although virtually unknown in his lifetime, Friedrich Hölderlin's importance in German literature is uncontested 250 years on. The Thalia Theatre in Hamburg is devoting a whole series of productions to the German Romantic poet for the 250th anniversary of his birth. Jens Harzer, the current bearer of the prestigious Iffland Ring (a distinction awarded to the world’s greatest actor in German-language theatre), is opening the celebrations of Hölderlin’s semiquincentenary this year with a reading from Hölderlin's Hyperion.
This epistolary novel is about one of the great love stories in world literature: the 22-year-old tutor Hölderlin fell headlong in love with Susette Gontard, his employer’s wife. When their affair was found out, he was fired and prohibited from seeing her. The young poet immortalized this “blessed creature” in Hyperion's love Diotima. Jens Harzer is accompanied by the string quartet of Ensemble Resonanz, one of the world’s pre-eminent chamber orchestras.
>>> Thalia Theatre

Tuesday, 7 April, 7pm
A HOUSE CONCERT PIONEER. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Igor Levit was one of the first German artists to perform online to a stay-at-home audience. Every evening, the pianist livestreams recitals from his own living room on Twitter – and will continue to do so “until we can all really get close together again” and experience music.
>>> Igor Levit on Twitter



We’re always on the lookout for online events these days, so if you have any tips or leads of your own, please email us at:sophia.karimi@goethe.de or sinah.grotefels@goethe.de. We look forward to checking out your recommendations!