Your Visit

Explore the Semperoper

Our Semperoper, at home in one of the world’s most beautiful and famous opera houses, enjoys great international renown. With its varied repertoire, the Semperoper is an integral part of Dresden's cultural life and delights the ballet lover every bit as the concert enthusiast.

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The Opera

The quadriga

Prelude on the roof

Did you know that the Semperoper is guarded by four panthers? An exceptional choice to honour the household god Dionysus, who fancied the companionship of beautiful women and wild animals.

The Five-minute Clock by Lange & Söhne

Interlude above the stage

One of the many architectural peculiarities of our opera house is the digital five-minute clock showing the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic ones running in five-minute intervals. This unusual design arose from purely practical considerations. In 1839, during the first construction of the Semperoper building, the Dresden clockmaker Friedrich Gutkaes was commissioned to design a clock that was to be easily readable from all balconies. Gutkaes decided against a round clock-face due to the limited spatial reality. The result was an ingeniously engineered masterpiece. The five-minute-clock, as an integral part of the opera, was reinstalled, slightly modified, both after the fire in 1869 and the destruction of the opera house in 1945. Meanwhile, the clock runs with electric engines.

Seashell ornaments to scatter the sound

Overture in the auditorium

Can you hear the whispering sea? Since 1878, Semper’s purpose-built construction of the balconies has created an incomparable acoustics encompassing every seat.


The Dresden Opera has a long and eventful history - just like its theaters. One of the first predecessors of the Semperoper was the "Klengelsche Opernhaus". Its opening on the 27 of January 1667 is also considered the founding of the Dresden Opera. In 1841, the first opera house designed by Gottfried Semper was opened. At that time, the round opera house was considered the most beautiful theater in the world. The opera house as we know it today is a reconstruction from 1878 after a fire had destroyed the original building in 1869. The Saxon State Opera lost their house yet again to the air raids of 1945. With the help of many original blueprints, the Semperoper could be reconstructed anew and was completed in 1985. The reopening was celebrated with a performance of Carl Maria von Weber's “Der Freischütz”.

Music Tradition

Tannhäuser: sheet of music from the premiere

Richard Wagner

From the very beginning, renowned personalities have been strongly associated with the Dresden Opera. In 1848, Richard Wagner became court conductor, and several of his operas premiered in Dresden, among them “Rienzi”, “The Flying Dutchman” and “Tannhäuser”.

Robert Sterl: Ernst Edler von Schuch conducts Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, 1912

Ernst von Schuch

Under the auspices of Ernst von Schuch, who was chief musical director at the opera from 1889 to 1914, more than forty world premieres were performed, including Richard Strauss’ “Salome”, “Elektra” and “Der Rosenkavalier”.

Elektra: sheet of music

Richard Strauss

The exceptional connection between Strauss and the Semperoper is reflected in the fact that nine out of his fifteen operas premiered in Dresden between 1901 and 1938. To the present day, the Dresden Opera remains to be a distinguished venue and continues to stage various world premieres.

Behind the Scenes

Needless to say, there is no opera production without signature props, make-up and costumes. Our opera even has its own workshops for upholstery, joinery and metalworking. The everyday operations at the opera require a variety of trades, which are all accommodated by the opera facilities. More than 160 employees working at the decoration, costume and make-up departments, ensure a successful staging of the dramatic works. Seeing the finished product on stage, the audience can only catch a tiny glimpse on the actual wok behind the scenes. The collaboration with a good management, proper light and sound engineering as well as an apt marketing department guarantees a mesmerizing performance of all our ensembles: the Sächsische Staatsopernchor, the Staatskapelle and the Semperoper Ballett.