The Opera House in the centre of Bayreuth (not to be confused with the Wagner Festival House on the hill outside) is another part of the Margravine Wilhelmina's legacy to the town.
It is officially classed as part of the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and is considered one of the prime examples of late Italian baroque theatre architecture. It is one of the few surviving examples of the style in Europe and was classified by UNESCO in 2012.
The opera house was quickly finished, taking from 1745 to 1750, and was part of the efforts of the Margravine Wilhelmina to create a cultural oasis in what was, for her at least, the provincial backwater where her husband ruled.
The theatre builders Giuseppe and Carlo Galli Bibiena - a father and son team from Bologna who were the most renowned of their day - were engaged to decorate the interior. When it was finished, the opera house was thought comparable to those in the cities of Dresden and Vienna in the German-speaking world.
The stage had a depth of 27 metres, which made it the largest in Germany for more than a century and was one of the reasons why Richard Wagner took an interest in the town.
Note that the auditorium of the Opera House is closed for renovations 'for the foreseeable future'.
The four-year programme is planned to modernise aspects of the building, (for example, the air-conditioning); remove some hazardous materials; and repair decorations which were damaged during previous restoration efforts. The work was originally planned to finish in 2016.
There is an information centre with an exhibition about the history of the Opera House and the work being carried out in the foyer of the building. This is open all year except for major holidays.
Opera House Website: www.bayreuth-wilhelmine.de
The map controls to the left enable zooming in and out of the palace view. The control at the top right enable switching between a 'satellite view' and a 'map view'.