The Saxon State Opera House Dresden was built on its present location at Theaterplatz in 1841. The world-famous Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, which is considered to be the world's oldest continously performing orchestra, plays at the opera house. However, the present Semper Opera House Dresden is the third opera house on this site.
The first building was built between 1838 and 1841 by Gottfried Semper as royal court theatre. This house already was a circular building in the style of Italian early Renaissance and well-known throughout Europe. However, it burned down in 1869.
Starting in 1871, the construction work of a new court theatre began. Since Gottfried Semper was involved in the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849, he was not allowed to enter Saxony and meanwhile built the Burgtheater in Vienna. At the insistence of the citizens of Dresden, he planned the new opera house which was constructed by his son Manfred.
Along with most other historic buildings of the Dresden city centre, the Semperoper was destroyed again in February 1945 by the bombing of Dresden. After several years of safety work and pre-studies for a reconstruction, the foundation of the third building was laid in 1977. Apart from some adaptations, the plans of Gottfried Semper were observed in reconstruction, so that the old new Semperoper Dresden shines in new splendour since 1985. It reopened with the same opera that was performed last before it closed in 1944: Carl Maria von Weber's "Der Freischütz".
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