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Margravial Opera House

Joseph Saint-Pierre

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)40. 's 18. century | construction
Built 1745-1750 by Joseph Saint-Pierre (exterior) and Giuseppe and Carlo Galli-Bibiena (interior).
(detail)23.9.1748 | opening
Opened on 23rd Sep of 1748 with J. A. Hasse's opera "Ezio".
(detail)1820 | Reconstruction
New stage machinery
(detail)1935 | Reconstruction
Reconstructed by R. Esterer.
(detail)1961 | Remuving of historical stage machinery
Stage machinery from the late 19s completely dissappeared in 1961 together with the more older equippment. No drawings or photos left. Just some cuts from old daily papers.
(detail)70. 's 20. century | Reconstruction
Reconstruction: 1977-1980


(detail)Giuseppe Galli da Bibiena |stage designer
Stage sets. IN: Hammitzsch, Martin: Der moderne Theaterbau. 1904 p. 144 - 148 More theatres

Carlo Galli da Bibiena |stage designer


Wilhelmine, the favourite sister of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, turned her residence, the city of Bayreuth, into a centre of the arts. Part of this strategy was a spectacular opera house, built 1746–1750. It became the most breath-taking theatre building north of the Alps. The facade follows French Classicism, inside it unfolds the splendour of Italian Baroque, designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, the most important theatre architect of his time. It is a pleasure “reading” the decoration of the auditorium: up to the royal box one can discover how the presence of the Margrave couple was as important as the performance.
Also in and around Bayreuth: the theatre of ruins in the Hermitage (1744), the grotto theatre at Sanspareil (1747), Richard Wagner’s festival theatre (1876), and much more.

Markgräfliches Opernhaus ⋅ Opernstrasse 14 ⋅ 95444 Bayreuth ⋅ Tel.: +49 (0)921 7 59 69 22 ⋅ E-mail: sgvbayreuth(at)bsv(dot)bayern(dot)dewww.schloesser.bayern.de

Visits: 9:00 to 18:00 (April–Sep); 10:00 to 16:00 (Oct–March)



The Royal Opera House at Bayreuth was built by the Bibienas in 1748 and has so far escaped damage. It is a perfect example of eighteenth-century rococo theatre architecture, and occasional concerts given there display its exquisite acoustics to perfection. By a stroke of extreme good fortune, one of the Bibienas' most perfect works survives absolutely intact, the Margrave's Opera House at Bayreuth. This was a family affair, begun by Giuseppe, probably working from a design by his uncle Francesco, and completed by his son Carlo. The stage is in fact very large—until the nineteenth century the largest in Germany—but the auditorium, which had to cater only for the court, is small in scale, constructed almost entirely of wood and relying as much on painted as on sculptural decoration. It is a work of irresistible charm. The showpiece of the whole theatre is the Margrave's box, which is covered by a canopy held by flying angels, its columns wreathed with gilded vines.


In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 83



Author: Simon Tidworth

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