Dresden's Semper Opera House is the most famous opera house in Germany; it houses the Saxon State Orchestra, one of the world's oldest and best-known orchestras.
Built by Gottfried Semper between 1838 and 1841, the Semper Opera House was closed in August 1944 and was destroyed six months later by the Allied air attacks.
Its reconstruction was a long time coming. Until 1985, Dresden residents were forced to do without their famous edifice. The ceremonial rededication took place on February 13, 1985, exactly 40 years after its destruction. The first performance was »Der Freischütz« by Carl Maria von Weber. The »Dresdener Festtage« in February and March 2010 commemorated the opening of the Semper Opera House by establishing the Dresden Peace Prize; it was awarded to Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Semper Opera Ball is also closely associated with the Opera House; the Ball takes place every January.