Markgräfliches Opernhaus

The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth, a world heritage site since 2012, is one of the most beautiful baroque theatres in the world.

Why the Opera House was built

Margra­vine Wilhel­mine of Bran­den­burg-Bayreuth (1709–1758) was an avid music and theatre lover. The theatre was built for the lavish festi­vi­ties surroun­ding the wedding of her daughter, the Bayreuth prin­cess Elisa­beth Frie­de­ricke Sophie and duke Carl Eugen of Würt­em­berg in September 1748.

The archi­tec­ture of the Opera House

The archi­tect appointed to design the new opera house was the leading archi­tect for thea­tres 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.

© Petit Chapeau

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 among other things the original light and airy atmo­sphere of the illu­sio­ni­stic pain­ting in the audi­to­rium with its over­whel­ming three-dimen­sional effect.

(Text source: Baye­ri­sche Schlös­ser­ver­wal­tung)

Video: The Margra­vial Opera House in 37 seconds

Learn more about the Opera House (and turn on the English subtitles if needed):

New in 2023: Grand Opening of World Heri­tage Centre

To comple­ment the Margra­vial Opera House, a new museum with a World Heri­tage Infor­ma­tion Centre opened in April 2023 in the buil­ding next door, in the former Komö­dien- and Redoutenhaus. 

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