Both Goethe and Schiller are associated with one of the cutest little theatres I've ever been in, all made out of wood, and built in 1802 (to Goethe's specifications). Since it doesn't have much in the way of insulation and modern conveniences, it's only used for summer productions these days, but attending performances there gives you a feeling for how much more intimate and personal theatre must have been then, as compared to now.
I went to a crazy Baroque opera written by an unknown composer called J.D Heinichen. Heinichen's job was to write at top speed to entertain the many merchants who congregated at Leipzig and wanted shows to entertain them in the evening. So by 18th century standards, what I saw was more of a musical than an opera, and definitely not highbrow.
Here's a scene - as you see, it's in a sort of Arabian Nights setting. I'm not quite sure who's being trundled off in the cart. It's a real romp with catchy music and no particular plot, but lots of dancing, singing and some inspiring feats of athleticism from Joszef Gal (in the fez) who leaped about all over the place. The audience loved it.
Another scene here, showing the goddess Diana (I think) shooting someone or other. Honestly, it doesn't matter who. It was that kind of opera.
The little theatre sits near the centre of town beneath some tall trees. It's painted in authentic colours of blue and yellow, and when we arrived we sat outside in the sun for a bit, and then took a walk around the town (which is almost a village). it's quiet and attractive, and an old spa, as its name suggests.
One of these old houses (facing a lake) was a coffee shop.
The lakeside pavilion's copper roof echoes the shape of the town church spire
Those coming to take the waters could stroll in a large and well maintained park with little shops, fountains, banks of geraniums.....
Back at the theatre, the performance began while it was still light, and two rather tough looking little boys in blue velvet suits were guarding the door, fairly determined not to let anyone get in without buying a programme.
The interior was decorated in original style, with coral pink, grey and white.
The orchestra pit was so small that you could literally have got up from your seat, as I did, and leaned over the dividing bar and turned the musicians' pages for them. (No, they were only tuning up, not performing when I took this shot)
Although June evenings are long, the performance was long too, and by the time the interval came, it was dark. They obviously can't have had theatre bars in the early 19th century, but the management have created a bar was in a little wooden caravan outside. I wonder what they originally did for restrooms - the present day ones are some way away from the main theatre.
After a coffee and a pretzel, we returned to watch the second half. It finished at nearly midnight - hours of non stop singing, dancing and jumping around for the performers. I suppose those Leipzig merchants expected value for money.
One day, I hope to revisit Bad Lauchstädt, and see another historic performance at this unusual little theatre.