Semper Opera as built by German architect Semper, as the name of building clarifies. As Opera house, it is one of the most famous and the most oldest, also, as I should tell after sightseeing, one of beautiful looking.
Opera as constructed in 1838 – 1841, but hardly destroyed in Second World War. The full restoration was finished in 1985. As for me, word „opera“ is like a synonym to Dresden, and also vice versa.
OK, I had already seen this production of Verdi's Don Carlo at the Semper Opera four years earlier, but the special thing this time (2008) was that I was able to attend with two VirtualTourist members, Kathrin_E (Kathrin), who was in Dresden to attend a week-long conference, and german_eagle (Ingo), who lives in Dresden and was kind enough to organize the tickets.
Ingo has posted an album with a nice photo of the three of us in the lobby of the Semper Opera.
Over the years Verdi wrote seven different versions of this powerful opera, some in French and some in Italian. I have seen the five-act French version in Strasbourg and a five-act Italian version in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main, also a four-act Italian version in Braunschweig, Dresden and Geneva, as well as a German translation in Dessau.
Verdi's opera Don Carlo is based on a classic German play by Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805). Don Carlo is a Spanish prince who falls in love with a French princess, but for reasons of state she is forced to marry someone else -- Don Carlo's own father, the king of Spain!
Second photo: Balconies at the Semper Opera house.
Third photo: Applause after Verdi's Don Carlo.
Named after the architect, Semper, the building was constructed in 1841, but destroyed by fire in 1869, and his son rebuilt it again to finish in 1878. There were all the famous opera starts like Wagner and Strauss of the time. It was Neo-Renassaince back then and then Baroque style.
During WWII, it was completely destroyed, but rebuilt over 40 years and completed in 1985 to original state. It is said to have the best acoustics in Europe, and today the orchestra plays to operas and ballets, with about 20 for the last season.
It is open Tuesday-Sunday for tours inside. The lines may be 1/2 hour or longer to get in to view. Entry is 8 Euro.
The architect Gottfried Semper (1803-1879) believed in using local materials and craftsmen whenever possible. So what looks like marble in the Semper Opera usually isn't. It's plaster, carefully molded, painted and polished by skilled craftsmen who passed their professional secrets down from father to son, or took the secrets with them to their graves.
Some of them mixed honey with the final layer of plaster to give it a particular mute shimmer, and then painted and polished it carefully.
Even a lot of the apparent wood paneling isn't made of wood at all, but is plaster carefully painted to look like wood.
The tour guides are usually people who were directly involved in rebuilding the Semper Opera from 1977 to 1985, so they can explain all this in great detail.
For more tours of German opera houses, see the travelogues on my Leipzig, Karlsruhe and Frankfurt am Main pages.
The opera house of Dresden was first built by Semper in 1841. Over the years, it had been subjected to its fair share of natural calamities and the ravages of World War II. Wagner premiered three of his operas at this magnificent opera house. Most of the opera house was destroyed during World War II but reconstructed between 1977 and 1985. Today, the opera house stands proud in the Opera Square and on closer examination, you can make out the original older portion and the newer rebuilt portion of the building. It is the performing home of the Staaskapelle and Staasopern Dresden.
On the walls in all the various foyers of the Semper Opera there are elaborate decorations and paintings in honor of composers, dramatists and librettists who were well known at the time.
Some of them are still well known today, but most have been forgotten.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, for instance, was a London playwright and politician who lived from 1751 to 1816. He rates a mention in gold letters on a wall of the Semper Opera (enlarge the photo to see his name) because one of his plays, The Duenna, was made into an opera which was very popular in its day, composed by his father-in-law Thomas Finley.
the operahouse is beautiful from the inside and the outside! A night at the opera would truly be something special, but taking a tour through the Semper Oper might be a great alternative as well!
The Semperoper has suffered greatly from the flood, but has re-opened meanwhile!
The paved square was originally located on the edge of the city, which was centered around the Altmarkt, a historic square just southeast of the Theaterplatz.
The most prominent building at the mostly pedestrianized square is the Semper Opera House, originally known as the Hoftheater, hence the name of the square. A first version of the opera house was built in the 17th century, but was replaced by a new, grander structure between 1838 and 1841.
On the west side, the square is bordered by a large wing of the Zwinger Palace. The wing houses two museums, the Gemälderie Alte Meister - an art gallery - and the Rüstkammer, an armory. Flowerbeds and two 19th century fountains grace the area in front of the Zwinger.
Opposite the palace, along the Elbe River, is the Italian Dörfchen. The low baroque structure was built in 1912 by Erlwein. It is named after the Italian stonemasons who lived here when they were working at the nearby Hofkirche, which borders Theaterplatz on the south-east side.
The glory to Dresden as a city of music was brought by its drama and opera theatres. The most beautiful and perfect of them is located on the Theatrical square and was erected by architect Gottfrid Semper in the second half of XIXth century.
The Semperoper surpassed even Milan La Skala on acoustics.
The Theatre became the sample for construction of many opera theatres of the world.
The construction of the Semper Oper or the Royal National Opera building was started in 1838.
The design was by architect Gottfried Semper. The building is known for the many world premieres of world works of Richard Wagner.
The opening was on April 12, 1841 with a play by Goethe called Torquato Tasso and Carl Maria from Webers Jubel Ouverture.
In 1869 the building was detroyed by fire causing by workers in the attic. In 6 weeks time a wooden temporary theater was constructed that stayed in use till 1878.
The construction of the second Semper Oper was started in 1871 under supervision of Gottfried Semper's son Manfred. The opening was on February 2, 1878.
The building was complety destroyed during the WWII bombardments in the night of February 13 to 14, 1945.
Between 1952 and 1956 the outer walls were restored, but the reconstruction lasted till the seventies. The restored builing was opened at February 13, 1985.
In the nineties the big hall was reconstructed.
In 2002 the Elbe river water level became that high, it flooded the area including the Semper Oper. The Dresden Fire Brigade worked hard to save as much as possible and to pump as much water out of the building.
The building was partly reopend at November 9, 2002.
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