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.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.