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The Bavarian State Opera is one of the great opera companies of the world, and the Nationaltheater, where the majority of its performances take place, is one of the world's finest opera houses.

The Nationaltheater was built between 1811 and 1818. It was destroyed by fire in 1823, rebuilt in 1825, and destroyed again in 1943. Since the early 1960s its splendid Neo-Classical Facade again looks proudly across Max Joseph Platz. An inscription beneath the pediment reads 'Apollini Musisque Redditum, MCMLXIII' -- 'Restored to Apollo and the Muses, 1963'. Within the auditorium, as you look up at the tiers rising row upon row towards the ceiling above the great chandelier, the effect is awe-inspiring.

The Nationaltheater, Munich. Photo: Ted Norrish
The Nationaltheater, Munich. Photo: Ted Norrish

In the current season, from mid-September to July, the State Opera is presenting forty-two different productions, including three new stagings, followed by the July Opera festival, with fifteen productions, including two new ones. The General Director since 1993 has been Sir Peter Jonas, former general manager of English National Opera, and its Music Director since 1998, Maestro Zubin Mehta. The State Opera has an efficiency, confidence and a lack of self-doubt that must be the envy of many great companies world-wide.

Helga Dernesch in the title role of 'Bernarda Albas Haus' (world première) at the Bavarian State Opera. Photo: Wilfried Hösl/BSO
Helga Dernesch in the title role of 'Bernarda Albas Haus' (world première) at the Bavarian State Opera. Photo: Wilfried Hösl/BSO

 

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Copyright © 8 November 2002 Ted and Emi Norrish, Coventry, UK

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