German theater

Since 2001, Middlebury’s German Department has had a standing and very successful German Theater Group. Between 2002 and 2010, it  won Mt. Holyoke College's German Theater Competition six times! Founded and directed by Prof. Bettina Matthias, this group stages one or two full-length plays in German each year. Previous productions include Anatols Größenwahn (A. Schnitzler), Reigen (A. Schnitzler), Die Physiker and Romulus der Große (F. Dürrenmatt), Zieh den Stecker raus, das Wasser kocht (E. Kishon) as well as Urfaust (W. Goethe) and Die Dreigroschenoper (B. Brecht/ K. Weill). The spring, 2010, production was  Der grüne Kakadu (A. Schnitzler.) and in spring 2011, the group delighted audiences with another Kishon comedy, Der Trauschein. 

For more information,  e-mail Prof. Matthias at bmatthia@middlebury.edu

Photos from some past productions: (At the bottom are scenes from Die Physiker, Fall 2004, and Twist, Spring 2003.)

Urfaust (W. Goethe) Spring 2008

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Die Dreigroschenoper (B Brecht, K. Weill) Spring 2007

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Zieh den Stecker raus, das Wasser kocht (E. Kishon) Spring 2006

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Romulus der Große (F. Dürrenmatt) Spring 2005

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Reigen (A. Schnitzler) Fall 2005
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Activities

Middlebury’s German Department offers  its students much more than just excellent in-class instruction and a unique study-abroad experience. Co- and extra-curricular offerings abound as you can see. (Click the links for photos and more details.)

The German House

The German House is a fun place and possibly the most exciting language house on campus. Students and a young teaching assistant from Germany live there and organize a variety of informal interactive activities (parties, movie nights, cooking, tutoring sessions, and also Kaffeestunde, the weekly coffee hour), all connected to the German language and culture. Students agree to speak German as much as possible, in order to imitate the German way of life and promote the study of  German  in their daily activities and functions.

Language Tables

Currently housed in the Redfield Proctor dining hall, the language tables offer students a place to speak and listen together over lunch. The German table is a very popular place to meet students who have just returned from abroad or have other great stories to tell, or to chat with the German assistant and  German professors to practice German with a native speaker! Guten Appetit!

German Theater

Since 2001, Middlebury’s German Department has had a standing and very successful German Theater Group. Between 2002 and 2010, it  won Mt. Holyoke College's German Theater Competition six times! Founded and directed by Prof. Bettina Matthias, this group stages one or two full-length plays in German each year. Previous productions include Anatols Größenwahn (A. Schnitzler), Reigen (A. Schnitzler), Die Physiker and Romulus der Große (F. Dürrenmatt), Zieh den Stecker raus, das Wasser kocht (E. Kishon) as well as Urfaust (W. Goethe) and Die Dreigroschenoper (B. Brecht/ K. Weill).

For more information,  e-mail Prof. Matthias

German Newsletter

The German Department publishes a Newsletter every semester. If you want to know what is going on in the department, what students are doing on campus and abroad, what classes in and about German(y) are offered at Middlebury—and if you love solving German crossword puzzles, this is the place to look.



The German Play was a Huge Success!

(The Newsletter took a brief break this year due to the birth of Leopold, the son of Prof. Florence Feiereisen of the German Dept. and her husband, Prof. Frank Swenton, of the Mathematics Dept. The information below pertains to the 2010 German Dept. play directed by Prof. Bettina Matthias.  The 2011 play, Der Trauschein, by Ephraim Kishon, presented in May and also directed by Prof. Matthias, was equally enthusiastically received.) 

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This year's German Dept. Play, Arthur Schnitzler's Der grüne Kakadu (the Green Cockatoo) directed by Professor Bettina Matthias, delighted  capacity audiences  May 7 and 8  in the Foreign Language Performance Space in the Chateau basement.

The cast had just won first place with scenes from the play at the annual Mt. Holyoke College German Theater Festival.

A detailed scene-by scene synopsis clarified the action for anyone who didn't understand German.

You can see photos from Der grüne Kakadu in this year's Newsletter (link below.)  

 

German Department Newsletter

The German Department publishes a Newsletter in both German and English updating information about our courses and programs and the activities of our faculty, current students and alumni, on campus and in Germany.

Why German?

German is the ticket to Europe. One of the three official languages of the European Union, German is spoken by more than 120 million people worldwide (around 95 million in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein). It is also one of the most widely used business languages in Eastern Europe (including Russia).

Germans are one of the most influential ethnic groups in the U.S.—30 percent of Americans have German ancestry. Among the many Americans of German descent are Dwight Eisenhower, Levi Strauss, Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Sandra Bullock, and many, many more.

German is the language of thinkers, poets, and musicians. Martin Luther and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt, Clara Schumann and Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer and Gertrud Kolmar all spoke German. Expressionism, Dadaism, and Bauhaus design originated in the German-speaking world, so did the Waltz . . . and Techno Music.

German opens the door to the world. Are you interested in languages and literature, political science, international politics and economics, business, philosophy, history, natural sciences, music, art, or environmental studies? Thinking about majoring in the international studies program? For each of these fields, familiarity with the German language and culture is an important asset. Over the years, a number of German majors have been valedictorians at Middlebury.

An interactive map of Germany.

 

German at Middlebury

The German Department provides its students with a thorough training in German language and culture, enabling them to interact freely and easily with German native speakers in all areas of linguistic competency. Students will acquire a fundamental understanding of the major cultural, social, and historical forces that have shaped German society, including significant developments in German literature, as well as the basic skills required for cultural and intercultural analysis.

The Department of German's interactive, communicative approach to language teaching provides an exciting multimedia classroom setting in which to absorb the culture of one of Europe's leading economic and political powers.

Goals for Graduates

Upon completion of a German major at Middlebury College students will be able to:

  • actively engage in conversations and discussions with native speakers of German, ranging in complexity from sophisticated everyday conversations to a basic familiarity with abstract intellectual discourse;
  • read and critically analyze authentic texts and materials from all areas of German Studies;
  • produce written documents of sufficient consistent and reasonable clarity to be readily intelligible to an educated outside reader;
  • upon the completion of the basic language sequence plus two 300- level courses (or equivalent), attend and complete successfully courses within the regular academic curriculum of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz) or Freie Universität (Berlin) via the C. V. Starr-Middlebury School in Germany.

 

 

Professor writes German textbook for opera singers and musicians

During her sabbatical leave in Germany during 2008-09, Bettina Matthias (German) researched and wrote a German textbook for opera singers and musicians. Having taught in the "German for Singers and Vocal Coaches" program in the German Summer Language School since 2000, she decided to dedicate her sabbatical to writing a much-needed book that takes into account this special group's needs, abilities, interests and professional realities. Her research brought her into contact with some of Germany's finest musicians, opera houses, agents, conservatories, professors and directors, and the final result will prepare singers both linguistically and culturally for auditions, projects and work in the German-speaking world.

Award-winning German Theater Group founded by faculty member

Since 2001, Bettina Matthias (German) has worked with German students, from first-semester to graduating senior, in Middlebury's German Theater Group. What started as an alternative to the typical final paper in late 2001 has grown into a very successful staple in the German Department and on campus, a steady group with at least 10 members at any given time, that has won the German Theater Competition at Mt. Holyoke College five times and has performed nine full-length plays in German. In fall, we will celebrate our tenth production together.