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Semper Opera House, Dresden

2 Theaterplatz
Germany 01067
Tel: 49 351 49 11 705's insider take:

Architect Gottfried Semper, one of Dresden's favorite sons, constructed the picture-postcard Semper Opera House in 1841. Since then, the theater has been destroyed twice (once in a fire and again during the Allied firebombing) but both times meticulously rebuilt. Today, it still packs in the crowds for opera, classical music, and dance concerts. Wagner premiered many of his works there, as did Strauss, and A-list conductors, orchestras, and opera stars appear regularly, including Zubin Mehta and John Eliot Gardiner. But check it out even if the performances aren't your thing: The exterior is an elegant combination of curved and squared stone whose overall shape resembles the prow of a ship. It's packed with details: Endless alcoves full of statues and gargoyles give the eye plenty to feast upon, an effect repeated in the frescoed interior. The main hall has four stories of balconies around the stage, in an acoustically near-perfect room that was a miracle of sonic engineering when it was first built.

Ticket office open daily 10 am to 6 pm. See online schedule for performance times.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.