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

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Louis Erk (2 years ago)
Beautiful place, tour was worth it
Venkat Ramana (2 years ago)
Splendid and heritage site. Nice guide and nicely preserved
Maurycy Hartman (2 years ago)
Unqestionably beautiful opera house. For 8€ you get to see main stage with a guide that explains you all that you can see. It is nice that the lady can also answer most of your questions. English tour was only available at 10:30, the others in German.
Peter Stadlera (2 years ago)
Incredibly interesting video show and detailed explanation. This theatre is extremely impressive. You definitely should go there when in Bayreuth.
whealton23 (2 years ago)
Beautiful historic building. Unfortunately the “tour” is really just watching a quick video and it’s only got some English subtitles. With seeing, but not very informative.
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