Markgräfliches Opernhaus

The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth, a world heritage site since 2012, was reopened after extensive restauration in 2018 and is one of the most beautiful baroque theaters in the world.

The Margra­vial Opera House Bayreuth, a world heri­tage site since 2012, was reopened after exten­sive restau­ra­tion in 2018 and is one of the most beau­tiful baroque thea­ters of the world.

The margra­vial Opera House is the best preserved example of a free stan­ding baroque court theater. It was modelled from the grea­test opera houses of the time in Vienna and Dresden. In 2012, as a unique monu­ment of 18th century festival- and music culture, it was inscribed by UNESCO on the list of world cultural heri­tage of humanity.

The driving force behind this excep­tional project was Margra­vine Wilhel­mine of Bran­den­burg-Bayreuth (1709–1758), who herself, was an avid music and theater lover. The theater was built for the lavish festi­vi­ties surroun­ding the wedding of the Bayreuth prin­cess Elisa­beth Frie­de­ricke Sophie and duke Carl Eugen of Würt­em­berg in September 1748. The archi­tect appointed to design the new opera house was the leading archi­tect for thea­ters of the day, Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, an Italian who had been working for the Vien­nese Impe­rial court. His son Carlo Galli Bibiena was respon­sible for the project in Bayreuth and he remained at the court until the death of the margra­vine, crea­ting nume­rous stage designs and festival deco­ra­tions for the margra­vial opera house.

The margra­vial opera house is modelled after Italian lodge thea­ters of that period. The fully preserved tiers of the lodges made prima­rily of wood and canvas, are installed as a free stan­ding cons­truc­tion within the stone exte­rior. The inte­rior of the theater was cons­tructed in record time with some of the wooden archi­tec­tural elements and sculp­tures prefa­bri­cated and painted else­where. Thus a master­piece of ephemeral festival archi­tec­ture was completed from 1744 to 1748 in under four years.

The resto­ra­tion taking place from 2013 to 2018 re-estab­lished the original light and airy atmo­sphere of the illu­sio­ni­stic pain­ting in the audi­to­rium with its over­whel­ming three-dimen­sional effect.

The audi­to­rium and stage form a single unit. The large stage portal framed by columns at the rear of the audi­to­rium, faces the court lmdge. The sculp­tures deco­ra­ting the lodge, like those above the stage, glorify the Hohen­zol­lern dynasty and the foun­ders of the theater, margrave Frie­de­rich and margra­vine Wilhel­mine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth.

(Text source: Baye­ri­sche Schlossverwaltung)

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