• National Theatre in Munich
    National Theatre in Munich ©Bayerische Staatsoper (Wilfried Hösl)
  • ©René Jungnickel
  • ©Matthias Creutziger
  • ©KölnMusik (Matthias Baus)
  • ©Christian Höhn
  • ©Oper Frankfurt

Classical settings: concert halls and opera houses

Classical music is an experience for all the senses. The appeal of concert halls and opera houses lies not only in the stage and the auditorium but in the exterior, the acoustics, the atmosphere and the charm. Both the music and the architecture blend the traditional and the modern in a number of different ways.
Frankfurt Opera

After the Second World War, Frankfurt Opera required new premises so it took up residence in the Schauspielhaus, the playhouse on Theaterplatz square. In 1960 the theatre company moved out into the next door building and in 1962 the two were linked by a glass frontage. The opera house and the theatre share the same foyer, which is adorned by a painting by Marc Chagall. Frankfurt Opera is one of the leading opera houses in Europe.

Richard Wagner Festival Theatre

The Richard Wagner Festival Theatre in Bayreuth is one of Germany's most famous opera houses. Only 30 performances are staged here each year, during the Wagner Festival in high summer. The festival theatre stands on the Green Hill and opened in 1876. In keeping with Richard Wagner's ideas, its architecture combines classical Greek and medieval German elements.

Semper Opera, Dresden

Dresden's legendary Semper Opera House has not had an easy life – it was burnt down in 1869, destroyed by bombers in 1945 and badly damaged by floods in 2002. The building with its rich Renaissance stucco was designed originally by Gottfried Semper and took 40 years to reopen after the Second World War. Today it is home to the Dresden State Orchestra of Saxony.

Hamburg State Opera

As early as 1687 Hamburg had an opera house at Gänsemarkt that soon began staging works by Telemann and Handel. In 1827 the company transferred to the municipal theatre on Dammtorstrasse, which was designed by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the neo-classical style. Paganini, Liszt, Wagner and Mahler all performed there before the theatre was renamed Hamburg State Opera in 1934. It is today one of Europe's leading opera houses.

Deutsche Oper, Berlin

The German Opera House in Berlin opened in 1912 and was destroyed in an air-raid in 1943. A more functional and modern building, which is still the city's biggest opera house, was christened Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1961. Audiences here love the great operas (by Wagner, Verdi, Puccini) but also premieres of works by Henze, Kagel and Rihm. The orchestra and chorus of Deutsche Oper Berlin are both highly renowned.

National Theatre in Munich
Bavarian State Opera, Munich

In 1818 Munich finally gained an 'opera house for all' in the form of the Royal and National Theatre at Max-Joseph-Platz. By 1825, however, Klenze's neo-classical structure had to be rebuilt because of a fire, this time with a pillared portico. Since 1875 it has been the venue for the Munich Opera Festival. The National Theatre is home to Bavaria's state orchestra, state opera and state ballet. At 2,500 square metres, this is the third-largest opera stage in the world.

Gasteig, Munich

The Gasteig arts and education centre has been a landmark above the river Isar in Munich since 1985. This red brick complex, which is freely accessible and attracts 6,000 visitors per day, is not only the Munich Philharmonic's home, it's also the central library and the adult education centre. There are three concert halls in addition to the main Philharmonie auditorium, as well as numerous lecture rooms and multi-purpose spaces.

Gewandhaus, Leipzig

In 1781 a Leipzig concert society moved into an old trading house of the city's textile merchants. It has been known ever since as the Gewandhaus Orchestra. The present-day Gewandhaus at Augustusplatz, the third building to bear this name, boasts Europe's biggest ceiling fresco. It was opened in 1981 after a campaign by conductor Kurt Masur and became a focal point for the peaceful demonstrations by Leipzig citizens in 1989.

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