Prior to World War II my grandfather was an opera singer at the Semper Opera in Dresden. My mom never got the chance to meet her father, since he went missing during the war when she was still a baby. All these years, she had a yearning desire to see where her dad/my grandpa used to spend his professional career and in a split second Dresden became a place we just had to go and explore.
The Semper Opera was completely destroyed during heavy bombardment by American and British forces in 1945. We took a guided tour and learned that the first bomb had hit the stage and the second bomb the place where the performers would change their costumes. The force of the blast was to extensive that in the end only one wall remained erect. In 1985, 40 years after it's destruction the opera was rebuilt and reopened to it's former glory. It took ten years alone to gather plans and photographic references to make the rebuilt possible.
What we did not know was that just about everything except a dark railing, has been reconstructed by using plaster. The wood paneling and marble columns are all faux finished and the ceiling decorations/paintings and murals were done by modern day art students.
We also learned that there is an extensive archive collection and were given a phone number to find out more about my grandpa and his activities there. It was a bit strange to walk through these halls and look at the stage imagining the space my grandpa used to perform at. My mom only had one photo of her dad, which was in a pretty frame that was stolen during the Iranian Revolution in the 70's. I sure hope that we can find another photo of him in the archives.