Bavarian State Opera House Bavarian State Opera House Avda CC BY-SA 3.0

Culture in Munich: The Bavarian State Opera House

By  Sunday, 22.11.2015, 17:39    Tourist Sites

Munich is very cutural city, and one of its cultural cornerstones is the Bavarian State Opera House, one of the leading opera houses in the world and a cultural icon for the city. It could not be better located, just a short walk from both Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz on swanky Maximilian Strasse, and the bellboys from top nearby hotels such as Bayerischer Hof and Vier Jahreszeiten spend a fair amount of time queuing up to get the very best tickets for their guests. A little atmosphere in the square in front of the opera house in this short clip below.

Sometimes the action takes place outside the opera house itself, as was the case in 2012 at the opening of the Munich Opera Festival with an installation by famed artist Spencer Tunick on June 23. Tunick's new work is entitled THE RING and in it about 1,700 of art lovers posed nude at several venues in downtown Munich. Check out the video below for some great choreography

Of course most of the action takes place inside, and the Bavarian State Opera has a rich and lively programme. Here is an excerpt from Tristan and Isolde by Wagner a few years ago. 

And the strangest fact about the opera house in Munich? It is home to 40,000 bees, who live in the roof and produce a special honey for the opear house. Sweet music indeed. Learn more here.

Munich's operatic history pre-dates the current building, and it dates back more than 350 years in nearby Residenz, where Elector Ferdinand Maria had built a theatre. She also got her hands on an old grain story on Salvatorplatz and converted it into the first freestanding opera house in all Germany. Opera in Munich was a success, and almost a century later, in 1751, Maximilian III commissioned court architect François Cuvilliés to design and construct another theatre, known today in Residenz as the theatre named after its architect.

Although magnificent, the Cuvilliés theatre could only accommodate 560 people, and so at the start of the 19th century, new king Max Joseph decided that Munich needed a new opera house on what was to become Max-Joseph-Platz after him. Construction started in 1811, but ws plagued by difficulties including financial problems due to the Napoleonic Wars, nad a fire in 1817, but the opera house was finally opened in 1818. 

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Paul Bradbury

After 12 years living on the most gorgeous island in the world, Hvar in Dalmatia, I have begun to wonder if there is still life beyond its shores. Prior to discovering Paradise in 2002, I was a world traveller, living and working in Japan, Georgia, Somalia, Rwanda, Russia... and Munich.

After 95 countries and some 25 years have passed, the memories of my year in the hotel industry in the Bavarian capital (fired by the Sheraton for losing our pet snake, the first male chambermaid at Hotel Arabella, and a truly eye-watering introduction to five-star living in  my days as a bellboy in luxury Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten) are strong, and the call of Munich has been a constant theme over the last quarter century. 

And so here I am, answering the call some 25 years later. Twelve years of island living have changed me for sure, but also left me curious about life in a big city, and whether or not I could adapt to it after such an insular decade. 

I was surprised to see that for such a magnificent multi-cultural city, English-language blogs and regularly updated information are not that available. Static tourism information, such as that provided by the excellent tourist board website yes, but accounts of daily life delivered daily? Hard to find.

And so I have decided to take a break from my idyllic island and see if I could live in a city again. And what better way to try than to discover modern Munich in all its facets after so many years. It is a journey of discovery which I am relishing, and I hope the site proves to be of interest for Munich residents and its numerous visitors.

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, as well as co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003. In addition to running Total Munich, I also run Total Split (, Total Hvar ( and Total Inland Dalmatia (, as well as being an accredited Google News journalist for Digital Journal in Canada.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, European Coastal Airlines, Touristar TV and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

In December 2014 I was delighted to receive the Marko Polo 2014 Award from FIJET Croatia (Federation of International Travel Writers and Journalists)  at a ceremony for the Croatian Journalists Society for the best international tourism promotion of Croatia. More here.

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic - in 2015

Around the World in 80 Disasters - out in 2015

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected] or visit my main writing website, 

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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