Enjoy an evening at the spectacular Opera House in Lille. Offering a diverse range of performances, from classical opera to contemporary dance and music, you are in for a night filled with fine entertainment.
Spectacular neoclassical design
Designed by Louis Marie Cordonnier, who took inspiration from the Palais Garnier in Paris, the opera house is a significant building of Lille. Its neoclassical composition sits above a large flight of steps, and it is one of the last examples in France to use the architectural feature loggia.
The limestone structure has three large arched windows on the first floor, designed to flood the foyer with abundant light. You'll find carvings themed around Apollo, the God of Music and Poetry and as you enter the Entrance Hall, you'll see the main staircase leading to the galleries, plus two statues made of stucco stone. The Great Stairs are fancily decorated and include two luxurious vases which mark the splendor of the institution.
The Grand Hall is covered with a dome and has a large orchestra pit and four balconies. The grand, Italian-style room has many beautiful carvings representing the glorification of the arts and can seat 1,138 people in comfortable armchairs. The Grand Foyer is an elegant space and particularly large in comparison to other theatrical venues.
The decoration of the ceiling and the two oval paintings, representing music and dance, are masterpieces from painter Georges Picard.
A story of reconstructions
The opera's original building was built in 1788, in the heart of the city. In 1903 it was destroyed by a fire, so the municipality decided to launch a competition to find the right architect for the project. The first place was won by Louis-Marie Cordonnier, who designed the building that you see today.
The new construction was known back then as the Grand Theater. It was completed in 1914; however, the finishing touches were suspended during the German occupation of World War I. The Opera was occupied for almost four years, but still, a hundred shows and concerts were presented, with a focus on Wagner, Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven. It was not until 1923 that it officially started hosting French concerts.
The theater was again modernized in 2003 to add advanced technologies so that all types of shows could take place. As well, new rehearsal spaces were developed on the top floor of the building to accommodate artistic teams.
A friendly program
The opera house is internationally recognized and usually partners up with the Lille European Metropolis to create new artistic collaborations and works with directors from all over the world to offer its visitors a variety of performances.
The program they offer aims to make lyrical and choreographic art accessible to all. To broaden the geographical and social origin of its audience, the theater offers free entrance days and a selection of shows for the whole family throughout the week. Lookout for these special events while you are visiting Lille.
Since 2004, the Lille Opera House has offered a wide repertoire of traditional and contemporary dance and music that is well worth seeing during your stay in Lille.