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Royal Kurtheater (Bad Wildbad, Germany)

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Royal Kurtheater

Royal Kurtheater

In 1878, we find the following note in the 'Badblätter' from Wildbad: The theater is "the meeting place for the best of society and is visited daily by His Highness the Prince of Wittgenstein, all the counts and barons present and a flor of lovely ladies."

The Royal Kurtheater had only been erected a few years earlier, in 1864, as a small, simple building. It is assumed that the theater director Albert Hirsch had it built at his own expense in unplastered half-timbering as a mixture of Black Forest and Swiss house. The bathroom and building inspector Franz Ulrich Mayr could be the architect. The place, an up-and-coming, stately spa, urgently needed its own theater building, because there was nothing like that in Wildbad up to then. Up to now, theater has been performed in the Badhotel's 'Upper Conversation Hall'.

The new house was a so-called "Vaudeville Theater". Vaudeville has its origins in the Paris fairground theater and is often associated with music and dance. In 1872 the private theater became the property of the state of Württemberg. When Peter Liebig from Mainz was called to Wildbad as theater director in 1885, the theater took off. In 1888 the theater was given a new name: "Königliches Kur-Theater". In 1897/98 it was rebuilt as part of the redesign of the spa facilities. The architect Albert von Beger, who was active in Bad Wildbad in many ways, turned the simple "something" into a magnificent jewel. Externally, the theater received stylistic Renaissance elements. The interior, which now accommodates 200 people, including in the galleries, was decorated with stucco in the Rococo style and brought closer to a Baroque layout. Thus, the design of the Kur-Theater now also corresponded to the lively encouragement under Liebig's direction. He remained theater director in Bad Wildbad until his death in 1910, i.e. 25 years. Until 1914, the theater was temporarily managed by the ducal Saxon-Altenburg court theater, which Peter Liebig had been in charge of for a long time as artistic director. The theater management was then handed over to Messrs. Steng and Krauß, a renowned theater family from Heilbronn. In the years between the two world wars, theater flourished again. Gaming was maintained even during the war. Older wild bathers, residents and guests remember the uplifting performances in the "jewel box" on the edge of the spa gardens. The theater was used until the mid-1960s.

On June 24, 1967, Calderon de Berta's comedy in three acts "Dame Kobold" was the last performance in what was then known as the Landeskulturtheater uses the spa garden. The population called it an "eyesore"!! It got to the point that in 1981/82 parts of the interior had to be demolished due to fungal infestation, and the load-bearing structure was badly damaged. On June 24th, 1987, 20 years to the day after the last curtain fell, a group of people interested in preserving the Kurtheater got together and founded the "Förderverein Kurtheater Wildbad eV". The state government's plans to demolish the Kurtheater did not come to fruition, since 1999 the Kurtheater became the property of the Förderverein. Restoration work began in 2001 and ended in 2005 with a thorough renovation. From this period onwards, the Kurtheater was playable on a modest scale, so that on July 1st, 2005 the house could be reopened with the chamber opera "L'inganno felice" by Gioachino Rossini under the direction of Alberto Zedda. In the years that followed, a number of events and the regular bel canto festival “Rossini in Wildbad” took place in the Kurtheater. The renovation continued in stages until it was completed in 2014. Next up is the restoration of the stage. On July 10th, 2014, 150 years after the construction of the building, the regular performance of Rossini's "Il viaggio a Reims" was resumed in the Royal Kurtheater! Since then, the association has successfully staged its own events in the theater with a great deal of initiative and passion. In 2016, theater lovers can look forward to the numerous performances planned by the association.

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