The Lyon Opera House
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The Lyon Opera House
View of Lyon Opera House
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Lyon Opera House displays a remarkable combination of old and new. Its atypical structure and eclectic programme award it with a prominent place in French culture.
Located in the city centre, the Lyon Opera House, sometimes given the nickname Opéra Nouvel (Nouvel Opera) after the name of its architect, has a surprising mix of neoclassical and modern styles. The combination of 19th century facades and semi-cylindrical glass roofs, dating back to the late 20th century, give it an original look unique in its genre. Inside, there is an auditorium and a modern amphitheatre, which welcome an eclectic programme of ballets, operas and other concerts each year.
A building designed by Jean Nouvel
The Lyon Opera House is the result of a competition launched in 1986. Initially, the winner would renovate le théâtre Chenavard et Pollet (the Chenavard and Pollet Theatre), built in 1831. It was Jean Nouvel, a French architect now renowned for his designs such as l'Institut du monde arabe (the Arab World Institute) and le Musée du Quai Branly de Paris (the Quai Branly Museum), who won the competition. Seven years later, in 1993, the opera house was unveiled. All that was left of the old building were the four original walls and the public foyer.
A “suspended” room
The Lyon Opera House stands on eighteen levels, including five in the basement and six in the glass roof. On six levels, the building houses a horseshoe-shaped auditorium, with a capacity of 1,100 seats, which has one unique feature: it is suspended by a network of metal beams. Isolated from vibrations from the underground and noise from outside traffic, the auditorium offers the audience excellent acoustics.
Things to see
- The facades and the grand public foyer, the only remaining evidence of the old theatre
- The small foyer, providing a contrast to the grand foyer with its contemporary architecture
- The auditorium and its balconies on six levels
- The amphitheatre, inspired by the architecture of Greco-Roman theatres