L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, March 15, 2019

Divine visual noise - the Margravial Opera House, Bayreuth

The Markgräfliches Opernhaus - the Margravial Opera House - is a Baroque opera house in the town of Bayreuth, Germany. It is one of Europe's few surviving theaters of the period and has been extensively restored; in 2012, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Built between 1744 and 1748 according to the plans of French architect Joseph Saint-Pierre, court architect of the Hohenzollern margrave Friedrich III of Brandenburg-Bayreuth and his wife Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia. The lavish wooden interior was designed by the Bolognese Giuseppe Galli Bibiena and his son Carlo in an Italian Late Baroque style. The box theater is completely preserved in its original condition, except for the curtain which was taken by Napoleon's troops during their ill-fated march toward Russia in 1812. 

The theater was inaugurated on the occasion of the marriage of the margravial couple's daughter Elisabeth Friederike Sophie with Duke Carl Eugen of Württemberg in 1748. Princess Wilhelmine, the older sister of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, had established the margravial theater 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. After her death in 1758, performances ceased and the building went into disuse. But more than one hundred years later, the theater's particularly deep stage attracted the notice of composer Richard Wagner who, in 1872, chose Bayreuth as a festival center and had his own Festspielhaus built there.

The theater was closed from the fall of 2012 until the spring of 2018 while it underwent an extensive refurbishment.

The theater's exterior is quite restrained compared to the rather outrageous interior.


  1. Wow! That is a feast for the eyes. I hope you don't mind but I had to borrow one of your photos. It just tied in perfectly with my post today.

  2. Looking forward to visiting this fall. Thanks!

  3. This is truly " Pomp und circumstances "