Visit: 24th September 2019
In September 2019 I travelled alone to Nuremberg for the exciting purpose of attending the packaging industry trade show, “FachPack“. Spending one night away, my task was to talk to various makers of plastic and metal drums and try to find out anything interesting that pertained to a particular company we have invested in at the firm I work for.
After a good few hours of touring the booths I had learned all I was going to about the topic, and, having some time to spare before the flight home, I hopped on a train for the short ride to the city of Bayreuth.
Located in Bavaria, Bayreuth is famous for its association with the composer Richard Wagner. Every year it holds a music festival dedicated to his works, which is a magnet for opera fans the world over. Wagnerian operas are not for the faint of heart, being famously long (the Ring Cycle takes 17 hours to perform in full) and, of course, performed in German. But those who appreciate his work tend to become passionate about it, and they include in their number a stalwart of this blog: a Mr Peter Nowell (see, for example Hamburg, Bamberg, Riga, the Wieskirche, Amiens, Warsaw or the Stari Grad Plain). I have been to see a couple of operas with him over the years (of which the only Wagner was a live-broadcast of the Flying Dutchman) so it was a shame he wasn’t here on this occasion to give me a better tour than I managed to glean from the German-language group I ended up accompanying.
The photos I took came out horribly dark and really do not do it justice. The interior is intricately carved out of wood, in a garishly Baroque style that bombards the senses from every direction except the floor. The opera house was completed in 1750 and remains the only example of its type. It was renovated a few years ago to bring it back to its full glory, and I felt the conservationists had certainly acheived the desired effect.
The opera house is called ‘Margravial’ by UNESCO because it was commisioned by Margravine Wilhelmine, wife of Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg–Bayreuth. Margrave was a medieval title meaning ‘Count of the border land’, given to nobles in the periphery of the Holy Roman Empire. The building was designed, however, by an Italian by the name of Giuseppe Galli Bibiena.
After the short tour ended we were shown outside and all that was left for me to do was return to Nuremburg and fly home, safe in the knowledge that if I ever have a spare 17 hours to kill I will know where to do so in style.