Facing the rear entrance of Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville in the heart of the Presqu’île is the Opéra National de Lyon. An original theatre was constructed on this spot by Soufflot during the 18th century. That theatre soon became too small and in 1830 the architects Chenavard and Pollet were commissioned to rebuild a brand new venue in a neo-classical style. Extensively renovated in 1993 by the architect Jean Nouvel, the Opéra de Lyon is today regarded as an emblematic theatre in contemporary French architecture.
The modern building holds 1,100 seats in its main hall and features an immense cylindrical glass roof, which is traditionally lit up red on evenings when there is a show, surrounded by the historical façades of Soufflot’s theatre that was completed in 1831. During the renovations of 1993, essentially only the outer walls were retained. New underground levels together with a semi-cylindrical dome that is used by dancers were added. On the front wall of the opera house, eight muses were kept in place (although the ninth one, Uranie, was in fact removed at this time in order to respect the symmetry of the building).
Programme and Tickets
To consult the upcoming programme, or by tickets, go to the opera’s website https://www.opera-lyon.com/en
The broad variety of offer in the opera’s programme is made possible by its excellent teams: Currently it boasts an orchestra of 62 musicians, a chorus of some 34 singers, 32 permanent dancers in its ballet, a children’s choir, and the Studio of the Opera (featuring seventeen young singers).
Eating and drinking
The Opera house features four restaurants and reservations can in fact be made to dine during the interval (in just 34 minutes!) of a show. On offer for €24 is cold gourmet platter accompanied with a glass of wine and a dessert. Reservation (the day before the show at the latest) can be made online.
Each level of the building feature a small bar for patrons to enjoy a drink and/or snack during the interval.
- Daniele Rustioni (since 2017)
Programme and Tickets: To consult the upcoming programme, or by tickets, go to the opera’s website https://www.opera-lyon.com/en
Tour of the opera: The opera house can be visited for the purpose of a guided tour on Saturdays at 1:00pm. Unfortunately, the guided tour is currently available in French only. Reservation must be made with Lyon’s Office du Tourisme in advance.
Address: 1 Place de la Comédie, 69001 Lyon
Transport: The opera is just beside the Hôtel de Ville-Louis Pradel metro station (lines A and C).
Prices: Prices vary greatly