Between the Balloons: Tamara-Danz-Straße



Berlin: 8.000 balloons along the boundary where the wall once stood will be released into the air tonight marking the 25th aniversary of the opening of the border between West and East Berlin. For the last couple of days tens of thousands of people have been flocking to the 15 kilometer long display, like here at the East Side Gallery, close to Oberbaumbrücke. Across the remnants of the wall, I discovered a street named after the singer Tamara Danz. Ms. Danz was born in Thuringia in East Germany. She started her singing career in 1971 with the band Die Cropies. After the prestigious music school “Hanns Eisler” rejected her request to study voice, she sung in various bands, eventually with “Silly,” a popular East German rock band in the 1980s. She received several awards, among them East Germany’s best female rock singer. In September 1989, she demanded in a petition from the East German government political reforms. She ignored the gag order against the petition and read it out loud at her concerts. Two months later, the wall crumbled and, under the pressure of the people, collapsed and preluded the swan song for the state and its ruling party. After the reunification, Tamara Danz continued to sing until she passed away of breast cancer in 1996, just 43 years of age.


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Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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