Cuvillies Theatre

Munich, Germany | C.1753

Photo Credit: J.S.K Photo Impressions

The Cuvillies Theatre in Munich, Bavaria, Germany has a history forged in fire over 200 years ago.  In 1750, flames broke out in the Residenz Palace Theatre, reducing it to a pile of ashes. Prince-elector Max III Joseph commissioned architect François Cuvilliés to construct a new theatre on the site, which was named after its creator.

Cuvillies Theatre was an exclusive performing arts venue, reserved only for nobility for decades. Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo” had its world premier here in 1781, and in 1806, the emperor of France visited Cuvillies for two operas meant to celebrate Bavaria attaining a status as its own kingdom.

The theatre was opened to commoners at the start of the 19th century, but would be obliterated by Allied bombing raids in World War II. All that remained was some carved paneling that was evacuated before the bombing.

In 1956, Munich officials decided to rebuild the old Cuvillies Theatre in all its former glory. The paneling was carefully restored and fitted to a new structure meant to resemble the Cuvillies Theatre. The venue’s grand opening coincided with Bavaria’s 800 year anniversary on June 14, 1958.

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