Opera of Nice

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The Opera of Nice is a municipal lyric theater of 1300 places. It is located in the Vieux-Nice. The building has two main facades, one to the south, on the Quai des États-Unis and the other to the north, rue Saint-François de Paule. Since 1992, it is classified as a historical monument.

The Nice Opera and its history

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In 1776-1777, the Alli-Maccarani family built a new theater on the site of the present opera house.
In 1788, a rival company called the Forty-Nobles bought the Maccarani Theater.

It was then expanded and renovated.

1826, the Royal Theatre

In 1826, the city of Nice bought it to demolish it in order to build the Royal Theater.
Benedetto Brunati carried out its construction in the neoclassical style. For the decoration, the City called upon two Nice painters of the time:Paul-Émile Barbéri(Paolo Emilio Barberi) for the hall and Jean-Baptiste Biscarra (Giovanni Battista Biscarra) for the stage curtain which corresponds to L’Apothéose de Catherine Segurane. She can be seen entering the Temple of Glory. Catherine Segurane is of course, a Nice heroine. The inauguration takes place on October 26, 1827.

1881, fire

On March 23, 1881, the lyriquel theater is destroyed by a terrible fire during the performance of Lucie de Lammermoor, work by Gaetano Donizetti. It was a terrible disaster that counted 63 victims.
In 1884-1885, it was finally rebuilt by François Aune, a disciple of Charles Garnier. Aïda by Guiseppe Verdi is performed, on February 7, 1885, the day of the inauguration.
In 1902, the municipal theater becomes the Opera of Nice and in 1906, the entrance is moved from the corner rotunda to the center of the façade. Its current form dates from 1906.

Facades of the Nice Opera House

L'Opéra de Nice

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The southern façade is of neo-classical inspiration, it is located on the Quai des États-Unis. It is much more sober than the one on the north side, rue Saint-François de Paule. This one is the main entrance.
The north facade is composed of five bays and at each end, a pavilion.
Four magnificent statues represent the Muses of music, song, comedy and dance, (Euterpe, Melpomène, Thalie, Terpsichore). The rotunda has magnificent and large windows. An inscription in Latin can be seen “Heic blandis anium ludis recreare juvabit et risu et lacrymis oblectans scena docebit“. It means “He will delight in entertaining the mind with charming plays and the stage will educate by captivating with laughter and tears“.

Interior of the Nice Opera House

L'Opéra de Nice

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As soon as you enter, you will see the magnificent grand staircase that leads to the great hall, known as the “Italian” hall because it has a horseshoe shape. One can say that its dimensions are spectacular. The figures speak for themselves: nineteen meters wide and twenty-three meters long. The Opera of Nice welcomes a maximum of 1300 spectators. The boxes are on three rows, they are adorned with gold and upholstered in red.
Emmanuel Costa realizes the Nine Muses of the four panels and the fresco of the large ceiling.

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It depicts Phaeton, who drives the chariot of the sun. In the middle sits a majestic crystal chandelier that symbolizes the sun’s star.

On the second level, frescoes by Jean Vigna decorate the foyer and bar.

The program of the Nice Opera

It is very diversified, and from now on, in addition to high-level classical works, one can also find musical theater, classical and contemporary ballets, stagings realized by theater directors, but also cinema. New horizons are opening up with urban music and rap, etc.
The 100% at school operation, gives access to all opera, concert and ballet rehearsals
to schools in Nice. A partnership with the Université Côte d’Azur also exists.

Practical information

Nice Côte d’Azur Opera
4 and 6 rue Saint-François de Paule

Hours of operation
Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Performance Sundays starting 1 hour before the show.
Closes on Mondays.

Official website

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