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