Hi, I’m Juliana, and I’m always on the lookout for new sights and experiences. I absolutely love discovering amazing new places in Germany, Along the way, I meet people who embody Germany’s huge diversity, and I’m fascinated by traditional crafts. I fall under the spell of history as I wander picturesque old town centres and soak up the incredible atmosphere of this country, with its kaleidoscope of scents, colours and tastes. Join me on a journey through the regions of Germany, as we take the road less travelled.
The Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth: Germany’s historic culture of music
Today, my search for Germany’s hidden gems has led me to Bayreuth. This little town in Upper Franconia might be little, but it packs colossal clout in one specific respect: its opera houses. For one thing, its Festival Theatre is the venue for the annual Richard Wagner Festival. Besides that, it's also home to the Margravial Opera House, which I’d love to take a closer look at while I’m here. This Baroque building has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012 – reason enough for a special trip. And I won't be going it alone: Angela Danner, from Bayreuth, is a member of a living history society and has agreed to give me an insight into this magical place.
A stirring tale of music
Angela Danner greets me in character. Dressed in the style of sumptuous clothing that would have been worn on festive occasions over 250 years ago, she leads me through the striking building, explaining, “This opera house was built in 1748 for the marriage of the daughter of the Margraves, Elisabeth Friederike Sophie von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and the Carl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg. The works of art and state of preservation here make the Margravial Opera House one of the most important theatre buildings to have been built prior to the French Revolution.” I can see exactly what she means: from outside to inside, the building is a shining example of Italian architecture of the late Baroque. “Incidentally,” says Angela, “the really special thing about this building is its roof structure.” She continues, “The roof has a 25-metre-span, without any columns to support it. At that time, this span went to the very limits of what construction engineering could achieve.” I marvel at the ingenuity of those early engineers, but am soon distracted by the sheer profusion of decorative elements and the incredible attention to detail.
Performances at the Margravial Opera House: Committed to tradition
The Margravial Opera House has a packed programme of events even today: “The Bayreuth Baroque Festival has been held here since 2000, with performances including revivals of long-lost Baroque operas. In other words, it’s somewhere that you can see exclusive performances that you can’t catch anywhere else in the world.” It’s obvious that Angela is proud to have this cultural monument in her hometown. In addition to the special events, operas and concerts are regularly performed here. I decide then and there that I’ll be sure to attend a performance on my next visit – after all, it's not often that you get a chance to linger in a place so teeming with history and immerse yourself in a multisensory experience. Unfortunately, my tour is over for today, so I thank Angela for her excellent commentary. Still exhilarated by what I’ve experienced, I head off on the next stage of my journey through Germany.
“The Margravial Opera House is one of the most important buildings to have been constructed before the French Revolution.”
– living history performer Angela Danner
Germany, land of opera houses
Did you know that around a third of the world’s opera performances take place in Germany? With over 80 opera houses, there’s certainly plenty to discover here. Germany's first opera house opened in 1657 in Munich. Since then, millions of visitors from all over the world have been enchanted by the magic of the big stage. When will you discover Germany’s opera tradition?
Discover Germany’s unique atmosphere!
Countless castles, architectural highlights and romantic little historic quarters: discover Germany's treasure trove of wonders.