The National Theatre in Munich is a historic opera house, home of the Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian State Orchestra and the Bavarian State Ballet. In 1806, the Elector Max I Joseph became King of Bavaria, and Karl von Fischer was his leading architect. The King was so impressed by a visit to the Theatre de l’Odeon in Paris that he ordered a test to be carried out to see whether the “Paris Model” could work in Munich.
Construction began on 26th October 1811 but was interrupted in 1813 because of financing problems. In 1817 a fire occurred in the unfinished building. Finally, on the 12th of October 1818, the theatre was opened with a performance of Die Weihe by Ferdinand Franzi, but was soon destroyed by another fire on 14th January 1823. The theatre was burnt down to its foundations. Coincidentally, the Paris Odeon itself burnt down in 1818. Under the direction of Leo von Klenze, the theatre was reconstructed in just two years. The second theatre incorporated Neo-Greek features. In 1925 it was modified to create an enlarged stage area with updated equipment. During the Second World War, the theatre was destroyed.
In the night of 3rd October 1943, explosives and fire bombs struck the theatre. In 1951, the rebuilding had already exceeded the budget, so the Landtag (State Parliament) opposed its rebuilding. Moreover, the city planners wanted to remove the ruins to make more room for transport services in the city center. So, a citizen’s group (callled “Friends of the Nationaltheatre”) collected additional funds and won over public support for the reconstruction of the theatre. The third and present theatre recreates Karl von Fischer’s original neo-classical design, though on a slightly larger, 2000-seat scale.
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