Not in the least related to books -- but I just came across this on YouTube and absolutely love it. That's my city, everybody ...
"Rhein in Flammen" ("The Rhine on Fire", or "The Rhine up in Flames") is an annual event, inaugurated in the 1980s I think, linking the towns along the Rhine, all the way from Koblenz to Bonn, by a chain of fireworks. The whole thing gets kicked off in Koblenz as soon as night has fallen, and finishes in Bonn at some point after 11:00pm. You can follow along by boat -- there's a regular train of pleasure boats offering "Rhein in Flammen" cruises, with on-board entertainment etc. ... or you just pick one location to watch from (of course, there's a carnival atmosphere on the shore as well, with food and drink vendors, carnival rides, and what have you). Here are some impressions (not my own photos) from this year's fireworks in Bonn, which just ended.
... who but Bonn Opera's very own Sumi Hwang got to perform the Olympic Hymn at today's opening ceremony in Pyong Chang?!
A short interview with her on the experience (in German) is here -- she talks about this being a once in a lifetime experience that she's now privileged to share with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Plaicido Domingo and Anna Netrebko, about how the freezing temperatures on the stadium's outdoor stage compelled her to wear heating pads all over her body underneath the traditional Korean dress in which she appeared, and about how her Greek colleague from Bonn Opera, baritone Giorgos Kanaris (alongside whom she is currently appearing, inter alia, in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro -- he's Count Almaviva, after having appeared as Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville a few years ago) helped her learn the words of the hymn in the original Greek, which was the language the Pyong Chang organizers insisted the performance to be in.
A few shots from Le Nozze di Figaro, ,which just opened a little less than 2 weeks ago (and yes, my mom and I were there) ...
Photos: Susanna (Sumi Hwang) with Figaro (Wilfried Zelinka), Count Almaviva (Giorgos Kanaris), Countess Almaviva (Anna Princeva), and with the Countess and young Cherubino (Kathrin Leidig)
The first performance in which I saw her in Bonn, and where she instantly blew the audience away, was as Almirena in Händel's Rinaldo, four years ago.
("Lascia ch'io piangia" -- the captive Almirena's aria)
I've been a fan of hers pretty much ever since -- so I was over the moon when she appeared on the Pyong Chang olympic stage today!