Animal companions - fantastic creatures

A song-filled walk through the rooms and gardens of the Josefine and Eduard von Portheim Foundation's Ethnological Museum

The collections of the Ethnological Museum of the J. & E. von Portheim Foundation comprise around 40,000 objects, many of which have hardly ever been on display before. For the current exhibition on animals and animal symbolism with exhibits from almost every corner of the globe, museum director Alban von Stockhausen and his team of curators have delved deep into the mezzanine floors and enchanted depots of the building on the eastern edge of Heidelberg's old town. The result is a lovingly staged show: Depictions of dragons, phoenixes, sphinxes and other fantastic and real creatures tell of how animal forms serve as a projection surface for human needs and characteristics. While some embody wild, untamed nature in fables, legends and symbols, others stand by humans as loyal companions and protectors.

The animal kingdom has repeatedly made symbolic appearances not only in art and cult objects, but also in literature and music, for example in the famous fables of the Frenchman Jean de La Fontaine. Teodora Oprișor, the Romanian-born pianist and songwriter, alumna of the Heidelberger Frühling Liedakademie, has now put together an original and amusing Lied.LAB on animal subjects. Maurice Ravel's exquisite "Histoires naturelles" for voice and piano, composed on poems by Jules Renard, form a small bestiary of the human. Together with her excellent young colleagues, Oprișor takes us on her animal walk through the buildings of Palais Weimar and its beautiful garden. The boundary between nature and culture is barely discernible ...

Performance without intermission

Admission to the museum is included in the ticket price. The house and garden are not barrier-free.

Further concert dates

Teodora Oprișor


JongSun Woo


Katja Maderer


Giacomo Schmidt


Amalia Nicolau

Pan flute

Nico Gutu


Dr. Alban von Stockhausen

Director of the Ethnological Museum

Museum team

In cooperation with