The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (Saxon State Opera) and the concert hall of the Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra). It is also home to the Semperoper Ballett. The building is located near the Elbe River in the historic centre of Dresden, Germany.
The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841. After a devastating fire in 1869, the opera house was rebuilt, partly again by Semper, and completed in 1878. The opera house has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
In 1945, during the last months of World War II, the building was largely destroyed again, this time by the [terror] bombing of Dresden and subsequent firestorm, leaving only the exterior shell standing. Exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985, the opera’s reconstruction was completed. It was rebuilt to be almost identical to its appearance before the war, but with the benefit of new stage machinery and an accompanying modern rear service building. The Semperoper reopened with the opera that was performed just before the building’s destruction in 1945, Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz. When the Elbe flooded in 2002, the building suffered heavy water damage. With substantial help from around the world, it reopened in December of that year.