Bénazet had the theatre built. The opera “Béatrice et Bénédict” was performed at the opening of the theatre in 1862. Hector Berlioz had composed it especially for this evening. A glittering celebration! The ruling house of Baden and even Queen Augusta were present!
Bénazet originally had other plans for the theatre:
Baden-Baden could have rivalled the Opéra Garnier in Paris! But the plans of the Parisian architect Charles Dérchy were rejected by the Grand Ducal Baden building director Heinrich Hübsch as “too ostentatious”. – The exterior view was therefore objectified. And the second design, this time by Charles Couteau, was approved. Incidentally, the interior was designed in rococo style.
What has this theatre not seen and heard since then: top-class guest performances in Paris. And then there are the concerts: the world premiere of Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in 1887, Richard Strauss in 1906 and Johann Strauss’ Concert Summer…
When Johann Strauss eagerly awaited his arrival from New York in August 1872, after some delay, there was no stopping him! During the concerts, which were always sold out, there was no end to the cries of “Da Capo”. Even His Majesty, Kaiser Wilhelm the First, requested a concert. A soirée was organised just for the Emperor and 400 select guests. His Majesty himself put together the programme. And during the concert, the Pizzikato Polka had to be repeated at the request of the regent.
Strauss did not shy away from repeating his successes: the “Beautiful Blue Danube” was performed no fewer than 15 times! Strauss had to postpone his departure again and again. The planned six weeks turned into a whole ten! And as the summer drew to a close, the concerts were moved from the music pavilion to the Kurhaussaal.
Gambling was banned in 1872. As a result, culture became even more important for Baden-Baden than it already was. The people of Baden-Baden were even prepared to build Richard Wagner his own festival theatre. But the Baden spa town had no chance against the ruinous spending spree of King Ludwig II of Bavaria… So the temple to Richard Wagner was built in Bayreuth…
But the people of Baden-Baden did not let their enthusiasm for culture be taken away! And finally they did get their festival theatre: it was opened in 1998 on the site of the former city railway station. The architect Wilhelm Holzbauer drew up the plans and also integrated the listed railway station building into the new festival theatre. With 2,500 seats, it is the largest opera and concert theatre in Germany!
Thanks to the commitment of a private cultural foundation, the big names from the world of classical music can be admired here! For example, the Easter Festival with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has been held in the Festspielhaus since 2013 and Sir Simon Rattle from 2013 to 2018. And so Baden-Baden is and remains a place of cultural enjoyment!

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Lichtentaler Allee e.V. –
Initiative Weltkulturerbe
Peter Dippold
Im Brügel 11
76530 Baden-Baden

Vereinsregister: VR 200 680
Registergericht: Amtsgericht Mannheim


Tel.: 07221-4034604