BAYREUTH, Germany — This small metropolis is thought all through the world for its summertime Wagner festival, based in 1876 by Richard Wagner himself. But lengthy earlier than the “Ring” cycle, Bayreuth had one other operatic visionary.
Wilhelmine, Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, was the eldest daughter of King Frederick William I of Prussia, and the sister of Frederick the Great. An bold polymath who composed music, wrote verse and corresponded with Voltaire, she constructed Bayreuth’s intimate but elaborate Margravial Opera House, one of the vital excellent surviving examples of Baroque theater structure in Europe.
On Tuesday, the practically 300-year-old opera home — a Unesco World Heritage website since 2012 — reopens to the general public after a six-year renovation that value 29.6 million euros ($36.6 million) and returned its dazzling decorative particulars, murals and trompe l’oeil results to one thing approximating their unique brilliance.
“Centimeter for centimeter, you can see that we got our money’s worth,” stated Thomas Rainer of the Bavarian Palace Department, which oversaw the renovation, throughout a tour of the constructing final week.
In addition to the painstaking restoration and conservation of the theater’s ornately painted, gilded surfaces — which took some 70,000 hours of labor and introduced extra lightness and brightness again to the inside — the proscenium has additionally been enlarged to its unique dimensions, after having been lowered throughout an earlier renovation.
The chairs within the roughly 500-seat home have been changed and will be adjusted in accordance with efficiency necessities, and the lighting has been judiciously up to date with LED bulbs that counsel the nice and cozy glow of candles. Behind the scenes, the stage equipment has been modernized, the temperature within the auditorium is now regulated, and the constructing’s ceiling has been freshly insulated.
“Today, Bayreuth is the cultural capital of Bavaria,” Markus Söder, the minister president of Bavaria, stated earlier than the gala opening of the theater on Thursday, addressing an invited viewers that included Katharina Wagner, the artistic director of the Wagner festival and Richard Wagner’s great-granddaughter, and Christian Thielemann, that competition’s music director since 2015. Also within the crowd was Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, the great-great-grandson of Wilhelm II, the final German emperor.
Built in 1748 from plans by Joseph Saint-Pierre — with the inside designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, the main theater architect of his day, and his son Carlo — the Margravial Opera House was inaugurated that September as a part of the marriage festivities of Wilhelmine’s solely baby, Elisabeth Friederike Sophie, to Carl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg.
The constructing has remained in good situation largely as a result of it was little used after Wilhelmine’s dying in 1758. After Wagner’s plans for a competition in Munich dedicated to his works fell via, he was entranced by the Margravial Opera House, nevertheless it was a lot too small for the epics he envisioned. (He ended up constructing a brand new theater, on a hill a few mile north.)
The rededication program on Thursday included a efficiency of an opera that had been part of the theater’s 18th-century opening: Johann Adolf Hasse’s “Artaserse,” from 1730, now given in a postmodern staging by the Theaterakademie August Everding in Munich. The manufacturing, directed by the Hungarian director Balazs Kovalik, drew parallels between Pietro Metastasio’s fashionable libretto about household intrigue on the historic Persian courtroom — it was set to music greater than 90 instances — and the story of Wilhelmine and her household.
In addition to the spirited and vocally resilient scholar solid, the manufacturing featured the distinguished German soprano Anja Silja within the talking position of the Margravine. As Ms. Silja, nonetheless redoubtable at practically 80, learn passages from Wilhelmine’s letters and diaries, the characters round her shifted fluidly from Persian to Prussian.
Over the course of the night, the manufacturing dramatized lots of the defining occasions of the Margravine’s life, together with her father’s cruelty; her love for her homosexual brother (offstage, Frederick the Great’s sexuality is a matter of historic debate); and the constructing of her opera home, which was represented by a miniature mannequin onstage — suggesting the kind of mise en abyme results the Bibienas had been famend for of their set designs.
Productions like “Artaserse” will take proceed to happen on the Margravial Opera House, nevertheless it won’t turn out to be an lively full-time theater. Conservation-based limits have been positioned on how typically the home can be utilized for performances, and none can be programmed throughout winter, for the reason that comparatively frail picket inside can’t stand up to excessive temperatures. (Throughout the yr, guests will have the ability to watch a multimedia presentation and consider the auditorium.)
Among the occasions scheduled over the approaching months are the Berlin Philharmonic’s annual European Concert, a Chopin recital by the Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, and a Czech manufacturing of Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo,” from 1607, which is usually thought to be the primary fashionable opera.
Indeed, it’s best to think about early operas right here, somewhat than extra frequent 19th-century works that require bigger forces and profit from larger homes.
“Performing Wagner here,” Mr. Rainer stated, in an understatement, “would be difficult.”