Margravial Opera House

Bayreuth, Germany

The Margravial Opera House is a Baroque opera house built between 1744 and 1748. It is one of Europe's few surviving theatres of the period and has been extensively restored. In 2012 the opera house was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

It was built according to plans designed by the French architect Joseph Saint-Pierre (de) (ca. 1709 – 1754), court builder of the Hohenzollern margrave Frederick of Brandenburg-Bayreuth and his wife Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia. It was inaugurated on the occasion of the marriage of their daughter Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie with Duke Charles Eugene of Württemberg.

The wooden interior was designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena (1696 – 1757) and his son Carlo from Bologna in an Italian Late Baroque style. The box theatre is completely preserved in its original condition, except for the curtain which was taken by Napoleon's troops on their march to the 1812 Russian campaign. The prince box was seldom used by the art-minded margravial couple, who preferred a front-row seat.

Princess Wilhelmine, older sister of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, had established the margravial theatre company in 1737. In the new opera house she participated as a composer of opera works and Singspiele', as well as an actor and director. Today she features in a sound-and-light presentation for tourists. After her death in 1758, performances ceased and the building went into disuse, one reason for its good conservation status.

More than one hundred years later, the stage's great depth of 27 metres attracted the composer Richard Wagner, who in 1872 chose Bayreuth as festival centre and had the Festspielhaus built north of the town. The foundation stone ceremony was held on May 22, Wagner's birthday, and included a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, directed by the maestro himself.

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Details

Founded: 1744-1748
Category:
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anonymous (19 months ago)
3D wooden architecture was really amazing!!
Chris Szabo (2 years ago)
Very unique. Perfectly restored. Must visit.
Ed Bruynzeels - Coret (2 years ago)
A must see when you are in Bayreuth. You can buy a combination ticket to visit other places of Gräfin Wilhelmine. In the short time the guide was very informative in a to the point and humorous way.
Justin Hardesty (2 years ago)
This place was stunningly beautiful. I was in awe when I first stepped inside. This is most certainly a must visit if you are in the area, a beautiful example theater history.
Nicolas Laillet (2 years ago)
Worst guided tour ever ! I just visited the opera during the Bayreuth festival with lots of international tourists and no effort is made for foreigners. The guide just yelled to someone asking for no photos, but she only explained it in German before. During the tour you are stuck on your chair listening to explanations only in German with no possibility to visit the opera by your own. I highly do not recommend this visit to non German speakers and advise to go to a real representation instead. The opera is beautiful.
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