Bach by Bike in Leipzig

A Trio Stops in the Summersaal

By: - Jul 31, 2023

An enthusiastic cyclist, violinist Marieke Neumann was the developer of the “Bach Bicycle Route” in central Germany, featuring guided tours to important locations from the composer’s life.

Mezzo-soprano Anna-Luise Oppelt joins her for Bach by Bike to visit towns and cities where Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked. The tour stopped in Leipzig at the Summersaal in the Bach Museum on July 30.  This house was built by a close Bach family friend, an affluent merchant. 

Bach’s home in Leipzig was torn down decades ago.  In the Bach Museum, the room he used for composition is recreated.  And across the street from both the Bose house, which is the site for the Bach Museum and archive today and the place the old Bach house stood is St. Thomas church, where Bach often performed.  Organ concerts go on all year long.  

Harpist Helene Schutz joined the group for the Sunday afternoon concert. Schutz performed solo in the Prelude, Allemande, Sarabande and Gigue from Bach’s Partita in B Major. We could thrill to her use of overtones which extend way beyond any keyboard instrument (that is not goosed up electronically). Schutz was a key element of the group’s performance, offering the basso continuo which colored so much of Bach’s composition.  Georg Philipp Telemann, a good friend of Bach, wrote a Fantasie in E major seemingly for Neumann.  Her modest commentary does not hide her superb performance.  

The audience would not let the performers leave.  We enjoyed the Cantata no, 78 in a too-short encore.  

Mezzosoprano Anna-Luise Oppelt was born in Berlin, Germany and has studied voice since 2010 at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar, Germany. She took part as a soloist in concerts of the Thuringia Bach Festival and the festival „Güldener Herbst“ Gotha. Anna-Luise Oppelt is booked for concerts in Germany and Europe. 

Her large concert repertoire includes J. S. Bach´s passions, Magnificat and many cantatas, Mozart´s Requiem and several masses, Handel´s oratories and Saint-Saens´ Oratorio de Noel. She sang the alto part of Bach´s Christmas Oratorio with the Vocalconsort Berlin and the Ensemble Continuum directed by Nicolas Fink in Berlin. As an experienced interpreter of New Music, she performed the Solovoice in the German premiere of O. Golijovs cantata Oceana. In 2018 she sang the solo parts of a Bach cantata program at the Chamber Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic with the Karajan-Academy, followed by a scenic performance of St. John´s Passion at Radialsystem Berlin conducted by Marcus Creed in 2019. She has been a soloist of the Bach Academy of Bachwoche Stuttgart in 2020. In 2022 she performed the alto solo in a reconstruction of Bach´s St. Markus passion with Musica Poetica in Den Haag and Arnstadt (Thuringia Bach Festival) including a CD-production. She was a soloist at MDR-Musiksommer in Weimar with a Bach-program and at Bachfesttage Köthen with her Bach by Bike Ensemble in summer 2022.

Oppelt perform in  Mozart´s Magic Flute with Jena Philharmonic directed by Stefan Klingele, in the world premiere of the chamber opera Lucie by do Nascimento as the title role with Thuringia Philharmonic Gotha and as Wilhelmine in Der Vetter aus Dingsda by Künneke in Weimar. She performed in another premiere by do Nascimento, in Die Marmorpuppe as the Mother in Mon Ami Weimar. She performed Mrs. Peachum in Benjamin Brittens The Beggar´s Opera with the State Orchestra Eisenach and  in the world premiere of Andrew Norman´s A trip to the Moon with the Berlin Philharmonic directed by Sir Simon Rattle. In 2022, Anna-Luise performed scenes from Wagners Götterdämmerung as Waltraute and from Massenets Werther as Charlotte with Theater Werkmünchen as well as the part of Lola from Mascagnis Cavalleria Rusticana with Opera Incognita in Munich.

Mareike Neumann was born  in Kronberg/Taunus. Neumann has performed with orchestras such as the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Klangforum Mitte Europa. She has been a member of the Philharmonic State Orchestra in Hamburg, the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, and, since 2011, the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn. She is also involved with both New Music (as a member of Ensemble Horizonte since 2007) and Baroque performance practice (with the Sweelinck Barokorkest Amster dam). Mareike Neumann has performed numerous premieres of works by Kishino, Sannicandro, Combier, Darbellay, and others. 

Clearly all three musicians deserve their association with the greatest composer of all time. 

Lübeck, Germany, is far from Bach performance and home towns in middle Germany.  Bach trekked to Lübeck when he was 20.  He wanted to hear the organist Buxtehude.  He stayed three months in town at the organist’s home. As the years go by, Bach’s history emerges from newly-discovered papers and documents.  His early career as a special musician became known in Lubeck.  Maybe Bach by Bike will take the 400 kilometer bike road, a shorter trip than the important journey Bach made by foot.

Professional musicians and audiences alike know that Bach is the most important composer of all time.  We learn more about him each year.