What is Mozart’s opera Idomeneo about? What does a Rubens painting in the Alte Pinakothek art gallery have to do with the coronavirus crisis? Can you wear glass fibre? What makes Schlachthofviertel so special and why would ants never tailgate? Listen to Munich-based experts answering these questions and many more. Whether it’s art, culture, science, philosophy or everyday matters, these Munich podcasts are well worth a listen: Unfortunately, they are only available in German.
Listening to the Bayerische Staatsoper podcast is the best possible way to prepare for a night at the opera in Munich. In less than ten minutes it delivers a summary of the plot, as well as background information on the history of the operas, composers, stage designs and productions of the Bavarian State Opera.
For example, it will tell you that director Nikolaus Bachler discovered artist Phyllida Barlow in 2017 while visiting the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Noticing references to the themes of Idomeneo in her garden of huge sculptures made from laths, boxes, paper, paint, plaster, polystyrene and fabric, he engaged her on the spot to work on the stage design for the Mozart opera.
Meanwhile, the Think & Talk podcast by the Alte and Neue Pinakothek art galleries looks at works from their collections and discusses how they relate to the present day. One of the speakers on the podcast is Dr Mirjam Neumeister, curator of the Alte Pinakothek’s collection of pre-19th century Flemish paintings. She embraces the opportunity to speak to other people as they visit the museum as a wonderful gift.
She then discussed the question of whether the piece could have any relevance with regard to modern-day challenges such as the coronavirus crisis with a group of interested participants online.
In times when coming together is more difficult, similar encounters can also take place in digital spaces: for example, Neumeister recently introduced her favourite painting, “The Death of Seneca” by Peter Paul Rubens, in a short video on the museum’s YouTube channel. She then discussed the question of whether the piece could have any relevance with regard to modern-day challenges such as the coronavirus crisis with a group of interested participants online. Think & Talk summarises the curator’s impressions from these discussions again – but you don’t need to have listened to the discussion or watched the video to enjoy it.
Marco Eisenack, founder and publisher of Munich city magazine MUCBOOK, is not one to look at the city through rose-tinted glasses. He has been quoted as saying: “Munich – a city that intoxicates, disenchants, delights, frustrates, refreshes, frightens – in a nutshell: a home that is so complicated, we forget about wanderlust.”
In the Munich Next Level podcast, he talks to people who have considered the future of this “complicated home” and who have some promising ideas and visions for the sustainable shaping of the city. His guests include Green Party politician and city deputy mayor Katrin Habenschaden as well as city planners, university professors and Munich creatives such as the legendary Hahn brothers.
Marco Eisenack, founder and publisher of Munich city magazine MUCBOOK, is not one to look at the city through rose-tinted glasses.
One of these, Laurin Hahn, talks about his automotive start-up Sono Motors from his first tinkerings in his parents’ garage to the stock market flotation of his solar-powered Sion e-car in November 2021. In the third of the podcast’s 22 episodes so far, his brother Daniel speaks of the joys and pitfalls of his many meanwhile use projects, such as the Alte Utting, a disused pleasure boat relocated to the top of a bridge in the Schlachthofviertel district and refurbished as a party venue.
In the Out and About With ... series of podcasts, author Anika Landsteiner, who writes for München Tourismus and others, meets with Munich personalities and walks with them through the neighbourhoods they live or work in. The people she meets with are from all walks of life and are as at home in their careers as they are in their neighbourhoods.
Jewellery designer Saskia Diez, Gasteig director Max Wagner, Munich graffiti legend Loomit and many more speak – often volubly – about the special atmosphere in their neighbourhoods, show off their favourite places and offer tips for going out, pit stops, pausing for a quiet moment or two and shopping. Anika has already showcased many of Munich’s districts in her podcast, including the Kunstareal (museum area), Giesing, Lehel, Haidhausen, Westend, Werksviertel-Mitte and the Glockenbachviertel area. If you’re looking for ideas for a trip to Munich, this podcast is ideal.
Science really has nothing to do with fairytales and unbelievable events. Nevertheless, you’ll often find yourself wonderstruck as you listen to the Biotopia Naturkundemuseum’s podcast. There is something fantastical about the vision of architect Ferdinand Ludwig, with whom Tina Gentner converses in the first episode on the topic of “living building materials”. Ludwig founded the Baubotanik (construction botany) department at the Technical University of Munich and is working with his team on a near future when we will move through cities as through forests, with living trees and technical elements such as glass combining to form buildings atop which birds nest and bees hum, and which also have a positive impact on the carbon balance.
He is working with his team on a near future when we will move through cities as through forests, with living trees and technical elements such as glass combining to form buildings atop which birds nest and bees hum, and which also have a positive impact on the carbon balance.
The podcast also touches on future-focussed topics such as artificial intelligence and dream research, with Tina Gentner and her colleague Mischa Drautz showering renowned researchers with the questions that any layperson would want to ask. “Stay curious!” is the motto of this podcast, which was only launched in December 2021.
The Deutsches Museum is one of the world’s largest science and technology museums, and its collection comprises over 125,000 items, many of which found their way into the museum’s possession in rather adventurous ways. Thanks to some thorough detective work, some of these objects have been persuaded to reveal their stories. The twelve episodes of the podcast present musical instruments, decryption machines, particle accelerators and even the spun glass-fibre dress worn by Spanish princess Maria Eulalia, who saw the garment as a child when she visited the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and went on to order one for herself.
The twelve episodes of the podcast present musical instruments, decryption machines, particle accelerators and even the spun glass-fibre dress worn by Spanish princess Maria Eulalia.
The dress survived two World Wars and a period of storage in a bomb shelter, as well as several years in the museum’s warehouse, before it was rediscovered by an employee and subsequently cleaned and restored over some 170 hours. While fibreglass is only used for insulation or to make high-speed internet cables these days, an encounter with the fragile dress uncovers the beginnings of glass fibre production at a time when the material was used mainly for crafts.
The podcast not only expands our horizons by presenting portraits of prominent scientists and useful information on topics such as materials, digitisation, music history and particle physics, but it also touches on more everyday rituals such as coffee drinking. The podcast episode entitled “Der Weg der Bohne in die Tasse” (“From Bean to Cup”) offers a different kind of tour through the “Kosmos Kaffee” (“Coffee Cosmos”) exhibition in the Deutsches Museum in 2020.
The snakes don’t have individual names because they are deaf. From the 2.15-metre-long forest cobra to the gaboon viper, with its five- to seven-centimetre-long poisonous fangs, keeper Norbert simply calls them all “Mausi”. In no time, these mousies hoover up three fully grown rats – nourishment enough to sustain them for the next two or three weeks. As they have no eyelids they can’t wink at us; all they can do is stare. That fact is probably the root of the strong hypnotic powers that the snake Kaa exercises on the hapless Mowgli in the Jungle Book, suggests podcast presenter Tina Gentner.
The snakes don’t have individual names because they are deaf. Keeper Norbert simply calls them all “Mausi”.
Listeners can look forward to a new episode of the podcast every two weeks, with stories, anecdotes and plenty of background information about the various species living in Munich’s Zoo. In each episode, Gentner and her colleague Micha Drautz bring fans along on their voyages of discovery through the zoo. Episode 50 sees Tina visit the chimpanzees which, contrary to stereotypes, do not often get bananas to eat because too much sugar is bad for our animal relatives too. Humans actually share 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees – so contrary to the Bavarian saying “mia san mia” (“we are ourselves”), we are also partly animal.
The Munich Fachstelle Pop at the Feierwerk looks after the city’s new generations of musicians, putting like-minded individuals in touch with each other as well as providing practice rooms, helping organise performances and even assisting with tour buses. In addition, Julia Viechtl from the Fachstelle has teamed up with Esther Diestelmann from Radio Feierwerk to create a podcast that invites listeners to regularly delve into Munich’s subculture.
Guests include Rüdiger “Rüde” Linhof, who has been playing bass with indie-rock band Sportfreunde Stiller for 20 years, as well as queen of meanwhile use projects Zehra Spindler, musician, presenter and author Roger Rekless, singer Nina Sonnenberg (alias Fiva) and David Süß, who runs internationally renowned Munich techno club Harry Klein.
Guests talk about their adventures and successes, but also discuss their vices, the crises they have faced and their defeats.
The great thing about podcasts is that they allow us to get to know so many people, all with different lifestyles and viewpoints, and this is especially true of the 38 episodes of Nahaufnahme that have been released to date. Guests talk about their adventures and successes, but also discuss their vices, the crises they have faced and their defeats. Listeners will smile as they find out how David Süß launched his disco career with the boy scouts in Fürstenfeldbruck, listen to what rapper and presenter Fiva thinks of marriage (nothing at all, in case you were wondering) and hear about Roger Rekless’ happiness on overcoming a period of depression with his last album.