National Theatre Munich

Points of Interest, Opera House, Theater



Nearest Subway Stop:  Odeonsplatz (1211 feet),   Marienplatz U-Bahn (1298 feet),   Lehel (2098 feet)  


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The National Theatre Munich (German: Nationaltheater München) is an opera house in Max-Joseph-Platz, in Munich, Germany. It is the home of the Bavarian State Opera, and the Bavarian State Ballet (Bayerisches Staatsballett).

The Bavarian State Opera also performs in the Prinzregententheater which opened in 1901 and, like the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, is built to Richard Wagner's specifications, and in the Cuvilliés Theatre, constructed 1751-1753 and described by Thierry Beauvert as "a Rococo gem".

The building

The first theatre was commissioned by King Maximilian I of Bavaria and designed by Karl von Fischer, with the Odéon in Paris as its basis. The theatre opened in 1818 with Die Weihe by Ferdinand Fränzl, but was soon destroyed by fire in 1823. It was immediately reconstructed and re-opened in 1825. This second theatre, designed by Leo von Klenze, incorporated Neo-Grec features as seen in its portico and triangular pediment.

In 1930, the building was modified to create an enlarged stage area with updated equipment. It survived until bombing during World War II destroyed it in October 1943.

Based on the original plans by Karl von Fischer, architect Gerhard Moritz Graubner recreated the original neo-classical 2100 seat theatre. The new building is slightly larger than its predecessor and only the foyer and main staircase retained their original look. It opened on 22 November 1963 with a performance of Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.


During its early years, the National Theatre saw the premieres of a significant number of operas, including many by German composers. These included Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1865); Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868); Das Rheingold (1869); and Die Walküre (1870) after which Wagner chose to build a theatre in Bayreuth and continued performances there.

During the latter part of the 19th Century, it was Richard Strauss who would make his mark on the Theatre in the city in which he was born in 1864. After accepting the position of conductor for a short time, Strauss returned to the theatre to become principal conductor from 1894 to 1898. In the pre-War period, his Friedenstag (1938) and Capriccio were premiered in Munich.

In the post-War period, the house has seen significant productions and many world premieres.

Famous World Premieres

The list refers only to those premieres of the Bavarian State Opera staged in the Nationaltheater. The Bavarian State Opera had additional premieres also in other theatres. Also the Bavarian State Ballet had premieres in the National Theatre.
  • 7 October 1849, Benvenuto Cellini by Franz Lachner, Henri-Auguste Barbier and Léon de Wailly (German by: ?)
  • 10 June 1865, Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner
  • 21 June 1868, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner
  • 22 September 1869, Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner
  • 26 June 1870, Die Walküre by Richard Wagner
  • 29 June 1888, Die Feen by Richard Wagner
  • 23 January 1897, Königskinder (Melodrama edition) by Engelbert Humperdinck and Elsa Bernstein
  • 10 October 1897, Sarema by Alexander von Zemlinsky, Adolf von Zemlinszky and Arnold Schönberg
  • 22 January 1899, Der Bärenhäuter by Siegfried Wagner
  • 19 March 1906, I quattro rusteghi (Die vier Grobiane) by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and Giuseppe Pizzolato (German by Hermann Teibler)
  • 11 December 1906, Das Christelflein by Hans Pfitzner and Ilse von Stach
  • 4 December 1909, Il segreto di Susanna (Susannens Geheimnis) by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and Enrico Golisciani (German by Max Kalbeck)
  • 28 March 1916, Der Ring des Polykrates by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Leo Feld and Julius Korngold and; Violanta by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Hans Müller-Einigen
  • 30 November 1920, Die Vögel by Walter Braunfels (freely adapted from Aristophanes)
  • 15 November 1924, Don Gil von den grünen Hosen by Walter Braunfels (by Tirso de Molina)
  • 12 November 1931, Das Herz by Hans Pfitzner and Hans Mahner-Mons
  • 24 July 1938, Friedenstag by Richard Strauss, Joseph Gregor and Stefan Zweig
  • 5 February 1939, Der Mond by Carl Orff
  • 28 October 1942, Capriccio (opera) by Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss
  • 27 November 1963, Die Verlobung in San Domingo by Werner Egk (by Heinrich von Kleist)
  • 1 August 1972, Sim Tjong by Yun I-sang and Harald Kunz
  • 9 July 1978, Lear by Aribert Reimann and Claus H. Henneberg
  • 10 May 1981, Lou Salomé by Giuseppe Sinopoli and Karl Dietrich Gräwe
  • 22 July 1985 Le Roi Bérenger (König Bérenger I.) by Heinrich Sutermeister (by Eugène Ionesco)
  • 8 November 1985, Night by Lorenzo Ferrero and Peter Wehran (after Novalis)
  • 25 January 1986, Belshazar by Volker David Kirchner and Harald Weirich
  • 7 July 1986, Troades by Aribert Reimann and Gerd Albrecht (by Euripides and Franz Werfel)
  • 6 July 1991, Ubu Rex by Krzysztof Penderecki (by Alfred Jarry)
  • 1 July 1996, Schlachhof 5 by Hans-Jürgen von Bose (by Kurt Vonnegut)
  • 24 May 1998, Was ihr wollt by Manfred Trojahn and Claus H. Henneberg
  • 30 October 2000, Bernarda Albas Haus by Aribert Reimann (by Federico García Lorca)
  • 27 October 2006, Das Gehege by Wolfgang Rihm and Botho Strauß
  • 30 June 2007, Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang


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