Music: Rebirth in Dresden

After 40 years, the Semper Opera opens with politics and song

AN INFERNO LIKE DRESDEN MUST NEVER BE REPEATED! proclaimed one banner, its white letters imprinted on a scarlet background. EUROPE WANTS NO EUROSHIMA! exclaimed another; SOCIALISM, PEACE, FREEDOM, declared a third. In the streets, toddlers waved tiny red flags with the hammer and sickle, and huge portraits of Marx, Lenin and Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko bobbed above a crowd of some 150,000 gathered at the Theaterplatz. From a platform emblazoned with the dove of peace, East German Communist Party Chief Erich Honecker faced the blackened ruins of the city's cathedral and, without a trace of irony, intoned: "Today Dresden is a...

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