For other uses, see Opera comique.
Interior of the Opéra-Comique, 2008

Coordinates: 48°52′15″N 2°20′16″E / 48.870962°N 2.337703°E / 48.870962; 2.337703

The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart (the third on this site), is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public.[1] Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.[2]


The Muse of Comedy assembles Poetry, Music, and Dance to form Opéra Comique (1722)

Since the Middle Ages popular light theatrical entertainments had been a part of the seasonal Parisian fairs, especially the Foire Saint-Germain and the Foire Saint-Laurent. They included farces, tightrope acts, acrobatics, and marionettes, and also included music, such as vaudevilles and popular songs. The audiences were diverse, from all levels of society, and the presentations were given on makeshift stages. However, with the establishment in 1672 of King Louis XIV's Académie royale de Musique (popularly known as the Opéra) under Jean-Baptiste Lully, the use of music by fair troupes was significantly curtailed.[3][4]

When the Italian players at the Hôtel de Bourgogne were banished from Paris in 1697 for performing their comedy La fausse prude ("The False Prude"), which satirized the King's mistress, Madame de Maintenon, the fair theatres were quick to adopt much of the Italians' repertory, which included parodies of operas and tragedies. The fair theatres were soon viewed as competition by the Opéra and the Comédie-Française, and restrictions were again more strictly enforced. The troupes at the Foire Saint-Germain and the Foire Saint-Laurent received warnings from the police in 1699 and 1706. Although in 1708 the fairground entrepreneurs Charles Alard and Maurice were able to purchase from the Opéra's director Pierre Guyenet the right to use singers, dancers, musicians, and sets, this did not last as Guyenet died in 1712, leaving the Opéra with a debt in the neighborhood of 400,000 livres. Alard resorted to giving silent performances with the actors' speeches displayed to the audience on large cue cards. The players next tried including vaudeville airs via audience participation: the musicians would play a popular tune, and the spectators would sing, while the actors remained silent. This was further enhanced when the words began to be displayed to the audience on a large banner.[3][4][5][6]

Foundation and early history


In 1713 and 1714 several of the fair troupes were able to conclude a new series of agreements with the creditors of the deceased Guyenet, who at this point had become the managers of the rather expensive Opéra. For an annual fee the troupes obtained the right to perform light comedies interspersed with songs and dances and to use sets and theatre machines.[5] They were also given the right to use the name "Opéra-Comique". The first work officially given that designation was Télémaque (a parody of the opera by André Cardinal Destouches), which was first performed by the Théâtre de la Foire Saint-Germain in 1715. The words were by Alain-René Lesage, the music was arranged by Jean-Claude Gillier, and the orchestra consisted of 15 players. Lesage authored many of the early opéras comiques, and composers like Gillier worked primarily as arrangers of existing music.[3][7] In 1716 one of the troupes' leaders, Catherine Vanderberg purchased additional rights and began to present more original works by authors, such as Jacques-Philippe d'Orneval, Alexis Piron, and Louis Fuzelier.[4] In these early days the role of librettist for the theatre was more important than that of the composer and pre-eminent among them for more than forty years was Charles-Simon Favart, who made his first contribution in 1734 and achieved his first important success with La chercheuse d'esprit in 1741.[8]

In 1743 the impresario Jean Monnet paid 12,000 livres to the Opéra for the right to run the Opéra-Comique, He renovated the theatre and brought together a group of highly talented creative artists, including, besides Favart, who also worked as a stage director, the comedian Préville, the stage designer François Boucher, and the ballet master Dupré and his pupil Jean-Georges Noverre. Jean-Philippe Rameau may also have been the leader of the orchestra. The company was, however, too successful, and the Opéra refused to renew Monnet's privilege in 1745. After working briefly in Lyon, and mounting unsuccessful productions in Dijon (1746) and London (1749), he was able to repurchase the Opéra-Comique privilège in December 1751 and remained its director until 1757.[9]

A scene from Le diable à quatre with text by Michel-Jean Sedaine

During his second period as director, Monnet continued to work with Favart and Noverre, and Boucher designed and built a substantial new theatre for the company of the Foire Saint-Laurent in 1752. The theatre was later installed in a wing of the Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs on the rue Bergère, where it was used by the Opéra in 1781,[10] and then as the first concert hall of the Paris Conservatory, which was founded on the same site in 1795.[11] The new theatre was especially important, as it enabled the company to perform at times when the fair was not in operation. Monnet's friend Jean-Joseph Vadé wrote the libretto for Les troqueurs, first staged in July 1753 and advertised as a translation of an Italian work. The music was actually original, composed by Antoine Dauvergne, and began a period of new works in a more Italian style in which music played a much more significant role. Composers for the company during this period included Egidio Duni, François-André Danican Philidor and Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny.[8][9]

The dramatist Michel-Jean Sedaine wrote the text of his first opera for the company, Le diable à quatre, in 1756. It premiered at the Fair Saint-Laurent on 19 August with verses for the ariettes provided by Pierre Baurans and with music parodying a variety of composers including Vincenzo Ciampi, Duni, Baldassare Galuppi, and Giuseppe Scarlatti, and also included music attributed to the French composers Jean-Louis Laurette and Philidor. Christoph Willibald Gluck was later to compose his own music for the work. His version was first given in Laxenburg, Austria, on 28 May 1759. Other settings were later composed for the Opéra-Comique by Bernardo Porta (14 February 1790)[12] and Jean-Pierre Solié (30 November 1809).[13]

1762 to 1807

The first Salle Favart which housed the company between 1783 and 1801

On 3 February 1762 the Opéra-Comique was merged into the Comédie-Italienne and occupied the Hôtel de Bourgogne,[14] gaining in respectability what it lost in independence. The company was renamed to Opéra-Comique by an edict of the king in 1780, although the names Comédie-Italienne and Théâtre Italien were still used frequently by the press and public for many years thereafter. In 1783 the company moved again, into the Salle Favart (architect Jean-François Heurtier; ca. 1,100 seats) on the site where the current theatre stands. Around that time the works of Grétry featured strongly.[8][15]

With the proliferation of opera houses after the Law of 1791 which removed restrictions on the opening of theatres, there was competition with the Théâtre Feydeau, which was resolved in 1801 by merger. By 1807 Napoleon had reduced theatrical freedoms, and the Opéra-Comique was named one of four primary theatres in Paris.

The 19th century

Fire at the second Salle Favart on 25 May 1887 (engraving).

French opéra comique, in the 19th century at least, was not necessarily comic; the term covered a much wider category of work. Notable composers in the history of the Opéra-Comique include Auber, Halévy, Berlioz and Bizet.

In 1840, the Opéra-Comique company settled in the second Salle Favart (architect Louis Charpentier; 1,500 seats), built on the site of the first theatre, destroyed by fire in 1838. The new house was inaugurated with a revival of Hérold's Le Pré aux clercs. During the 1850s and 1860s the Théâtre Lyrique offered competition in the type of repertoire staged, being particularly strong in its policy of new commissions.

Performances took place on most evenings of the week except for major festivals. Boxes could be hired for a year at a time, and many subscribers were wealthy. Before 1848 a third of subscribers were of the aristocracy, but after then it became an especially middle class theatre. After 1848 Émile Perrin sought to revive the repertoire with more literary and ambitious works. Until 1864 its repertoire was still prescribed, by statute, to have spoken dialogue between musical numbers.[16]

The Opéra-Comique staged the first performances of such important French works as Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust (1846), Thomas' Mignon (1866), and Bizet's Carmen (1875). In the latter part of the century the theatre revived works it had made its own, restaged works from the repertoire of the Théâtre Lyrique (which had closed in 1872) and premiered new pieces, such as Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (1881); Delibes' Lakmé (1883); Massenet's Manon (1884), Esclarmonde (1889), and Werther (French premiere in 1893); and Charpentier's Louise (1900).

A fire at the Salle Favart on 25 May 1887 resulted in the death of 84 people by asphyxiation. The building was destroyed and the director Léon Carvalho was forced to resign, although later he was acquitted of blame and resumed the helm at the company from 1891 to 1897. The third Salle Favart (architect Louis Bernier) was officially opened in the presence of President Félix Faure on 7 December 1898.

The 20th century and beyond

As the differences between opéra and opéra comique faded, the two main houses in Paris came more into competition, although the Salle Favart saw the premieres of more innovative works: Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-bleue (1907), Ravel's L'heure espagnole (1911), and French premieres of works by Puccini and Falla. Between 1900 and 1950, 401 works by 206 different composers were performed at the Opéra-Comique, of which 222 were either world premieres (136) or the first performance in Paris (86).[2]

In June 1936 a broadcast of Les Contes d'Hoffmann was disrupted by the start of a company sit-in demanding the director's resignation.[17] In 1939 financial problems resulted in the Opéra-Comique being merged with the Opéra to become the 'Réunion des Théatres Lyriques Nationaux'.[18] Notable premieres during this period included Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tiresias (1947) and La Voix humaine (1959). However, by the end of the Second World War, the Opéra-Comique's best artists, assets and repertory had been gradually taken from it to enrich the Opéra.[19]

The Opéra-Comique discovered some fresh energy in 1950s, restaging Roméo et Juliette, Orphée et Eurydice, Le roi malgré lui and Les noces de Jeannette and introducing Bluebeard's Castle, Landowski's Les Adieux and Dallapiccola's Volo di Notte to attract new audiences and keep the attention of the arts establishment.[19] At the start of the 1960s Stéphane Wolff, claimed that the theatre could regain its independence: "well-managed, it could again become what it was for so long, the most active and therefore the leading lyric stage in France".[19] However, in 1972 the Opéra-Comique company was closed (although the theatre itself received visiting productions) and its government grant added to that of the Opéra.

Although the company of the Opéra-Comique was disbanded (followed 20 years later by the closure of the opéra comique classes at the Paris Conservatoire),[20] from 1978 works were staged again at the theatre, both from its traditional repertoire (Le médecin malgré lui and Werther)[21] as well as more adventurous repertoire: La chatte anglaise in 1984, Denisov's L'Écume des Jours, as well as productions with international stars, including Jessye Norman as Dido in 1984.[20] While still battling for survival the theatre hosted one of the major baroque revivals: Atys, with Les Arts Florissants in 1987.[22] The company regained its autonomy and returned, albeit with an inadequate budget, to the Salle Favart in 1990. Although its budget amounted to less than most provincial French opera houses, the first new director of the independent Opéra-Comique, Thierry Fouquet, attempted to run a balanced programme but handed over in 1994 to Pierre Médecin, who was responsible for the centenary season in 1998 with a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. The loss of private sponsors led to a policy of musical comedy and operetta under Jérôme Savary from 2000.[20] A decree of November 2004 put the theatre on a new basis, stressing the variety of productions it should mount: "de l'opéra baroque à la création contemporaine et le patrimoine de l'Opéra-Comique".[23]

It currently mounts 7 or 8 operas or opéra comiques (some of them co-productions), with complementary concerts, recitals and exhibitions, each season. In common with many other opera houses the Opéra-Comique also offers relayed performances to cinemas (around France and in Europe); Carmen in June 2009 and Béatrice et Bénédict in March 2010. In 2013 an opera critic was moved to write that of Paris lyric theatres "over the past seven seasons, [the Opéra-Comique] has best succeeded in establishing a particular identity and achieving consistent quality in its productions".[24]

In the summer of 2015 the theatre closed for 18 months for major refurbishment including the costume department, the salle Bizet, and the hall Boieldieu. During the closure there are plans for a webopera and a fan zone at the UEFA Cup where spectators will be invited to sing well-known opera-comique songs.[25]

Theatres used by the Opéra-Comique company

Theatre Dates used Notes
at fairs, seasonally 1714 1762 operated at the St Germain and St Laurent fairs
Hôtel de Bourgogne 3 February 1762 4 April 1783 merged into Comédie-Italienne; theatre was built in the late 16th century
Salle Favart (1st) 28 April 1783 20 July 1801 first Salle Favart destroyed by fire on 1314 January 1838[26]
Salle Feydeau 16 September 1801 22 July 1804 merger with Théâtre Feydeau; kept company name Opéra-Comique
Salle Favart (1st) 23 July 1804 4 July 1805 except Salle Olympique (323 October 1804)
Salle Feydeau 2 September 1805 12 April 1829
Salle Ventadour 20 April 1829 22 March 1832 on the rue Neuve-Ventadour, it was built for the Opéra-Comique
Salle de la Bourse 24 September 1832 30 April 1840 built in 1827 also called the Théâtre des Nouveautés
Salle Favart (2nd) 16 May 1840 25 May 1887 except Salle Ventadour (26 June 4 July 1853); second Salle Favart destroyed by fire on 25 May 1887
Salle du Théâtre Lyrique 15 October 1887 30 June 1898 Place du Châtelet
Théatre du Château-d'Eau 26 October 30 November 1898
Salle Favart (3rd) 7 December 1898 present declared a historic monument in 1977[27]
Sources: "Opéra-Comique"[28] and "Paris"[16] in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera; Wild and Charlton 2005.[29]
Theatres of the Opéra-Comique (engraving for the centenary of the first Salle Favart on 28 April 1883): 1. Salle de la Foire St Laurent; 2. Hôtel de Bourgogne; 3. Salle Favart (1st); 4. Salle Feydeau; 5. Salle Ventadour; 6. Salle de la Bourse; 7. Salle Favart (2nd)

Notable premieres

Date Composer Work Theatre
1753-07-30 30 July 1753 Dauvergne Antoine Dauvergne Troqueurs Les troqueurs Foire Saint-Laurent
1757-07-26 26 July 1757 Duni Egidio Duni Peintre Le peintre amoureux de son modèle Foire Saint-Laurent
1759-03-09 9 March 1759 Philidor François-André Danican Philidor Blaise Le Blaise le savetier Foire Saint-Germain
1761-08-22 22 August 1761 Philidor François-André Danican Philidor Marechal Le maréchal ferrant Foire Saint-Laurent
1761-09-14 14 September 1761 Monsigny Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny On Ne On ne s'avise jamais de tout Foire Saint-Laurent
1762-11-22 22 November 1762 Monsigny Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny Roy Et Le Le roy et le fermier Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1765-02-27 27 February 1765 Philidor François-André Danican Philidor Tom Jones Tom Jones Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1768-08-20 20 August 1768 Gretry André Grétry Huron Le Huron Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1769-01-05 5 January 1769 Gretry André Grétry Lucile Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1769-03-06 6 March 1769 Monsigny Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny Deserteur Le déserteur Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1769-09-20 20 September 1769 Gretry André Grétry Tableau Le tableau parlant Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1771-12-16 16 December 1771 Gretry André Grétry Zemire Zémire et Azor Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne[30]
1776-06-12 12 June 1776 Gretry André Grétry Mariages Samnites Les mariages samnites Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1780-01-03 3 January 1780 Gretry André Grétry Aucassin et Nicolette Bourgogne Hôtel de Bourgogne
1784-10-21 21 October 1784 Gretry André Grétry Richard Richard Coeur-de-lion Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1785-08-04 4 August 1785 Dalayrac Nicolas Dalayrac Amant L'amant statue Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1786-05-15 15 May 1786 Dalayrac Nicolas Dalayrac Nina Nina, ou La folle par amour Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1789-01-14 14 January 1789 Dalayrac Nicolas Dalayrac Deux Petits Les deux petits savoyards Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1790-09-04 4 September 1790 Mehul Étienne Méhul Euphrosine Euphrosine Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1791-01-15 15 January 1791 Kreutzer Rodolphe Kreutzer Paul et Virginie Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1791-04-09 9 April 1791 Gretry André Grétry Guillaume Tell Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1792-05-03 3 May 1792 Mehul Étienne Méhul Stratonice Stratonice Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1794-05-06 6 May 1794 Mehul Étienne Méhul Mélidore et Phrosine Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1799-10-11 11 October 1799 Mehul Étienne Méhul Ariodant Ariodant Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1800-10-23 23 October 1800 Dalayrac Nicolas Dalayrac Maison à vendre Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1801-09-16 16 September 1801 Boieldieu Adrien Boieldieu Le calife de Bagdad Favart1 Salle Favart (1st)
1806-05-17 17 May 1806 Mehul Étienne Méhul Uthal Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1807-02-17 17 February 1807 Mehul Étienne Méhul Joseph Joseph Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1807-05-09 9 May 1807 Isouard Nicolas Isouard Rendez Les rendez-vous bourgeois Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1810-02-22 22 February 1810 Isouard Nicolas Isouard Cendrillon Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1812-04-04 4 April 1812 Boieldieu Adrien Boieldieu Jean de Paris Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1821-03-29 29 March 1821 Paer Ferdinando Paer Maitre Le maître de chapelle Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1825-12-10 10 December 1825 Boieldieu Adrien Boieldieu Dame Blanche La dame blanche Feydeau Salle Feydeau
1830-01-28 28 January 1830 Auber Daniel Auber Fra Diavolo Fra Diavolo Ventadour Salle Ventadour
1831-05-01 3 May 1831 Hérold Ferdinand Hérold Zampa Zampa Ventadour Salle Ventadour
1832-12-15 15 December 1832 Hérold Ferdinand Hérold Pre Le Pré aux clercs Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1834-09-25 25 September 1834 Adam Adolphe Adam Chalet Le chalet Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1835-12-16 16 December 1835 Halevy Fromental Halévy Eclair L'éclair Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1836-10-13 13 October 1836 Adam Adolphe Adam Postillon Le postillon de Lonjumeau Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1837-12-02 2 December 1837 Auber Daniel Auber Domino Le domino noir Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1840-02-11 11 February 1840 Donzetti Gaetano Donizetti Fille La fille du régiment Bourse Salle de la Bourse
1841-03-06 6 March 1841 Auber Daniel Auber DiamantsLes diamants de la couronne Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1846-12-06 6 December 1846 Berlioz Hector Berlioz Damnation La damnation de Faust[31] Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1847-12-28 28 December 1847 Auber Daniel Auber Haydée Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1849-01-03 3 January 1849 Thomas Ambroise Thomas Caid Le caïd Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1849-05-18 18 May 1849 Adam Adolphe Adam Toreador Le toréador Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1850-04-20 20 April 1850 Thomas Ambroise Thomas Songe Le songe d'une nuit d'été Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)[32]
1853-02-04 4 February 1853 Masse Victor Massé Noces Les noces de Jeannette Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1854-02-16 16 February 1854 Meyerbeer Giacomo Meyerbeer Etoile L'étoile du nord Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1856-02-23 23 February 1856 Auber Daniel Auber Manon Lescaut Manon Lescaut Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1859-04-04 4 April 1859 Meyerbeer Giacomo Meyerbeer Pardon Le pardon de Ploërmel Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1862-05-12 12 May 1862 David Félicien David Lalla-Roukh Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1866-11-17 17 November 1866 Thomas Ambroise Thomas Mignon Mignon Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1867-11-23 23 November 1867 Offenbach Jacques Offenbach Robinson Crusoé Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1872-05-22 22 May 1872 Bizet Georges Bizet Djamileh Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1872-06-12 12 June 1872 Saint-Saëns Camille Saint-Saëns Princesse La princesse jaune Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1873-05-24 24 May 1873 Delibes Léo Delibes Roi L Le roi l'a dit Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1875-03-03 3 March 1875 Bizet Georges Bizet Carmen Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1881-02-10 10 February 1881 Offenbach Jacques Offenbach Contes Les contes d'Hoffmann Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1883-04-14 14 April 1883 Delibes Léo Delibes Lakmé Lakmé Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1884-01-19 19 January 1884 Massenet Jules Massenet Manon 0 Manon Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1887-05-18 18 May 1887 Chabrier Emmanuel Chabrier Roi malgré Le roi malgré lui Favart2 Salle Favart (2nd)
1888-05-07 7 May 1888 Lalo Édouard Lalo Roi d'Ys Le roi d'Ys Lyrique Théâtre Lyrique[33]
1889-05-15 15 May 1889 Massenet Jules Massenet Esclarmonde Esclarmonde Lyrique Théâtre Lyrique
1890-05-30 30 May 1890 Messager André Messager Basoche La Basoche Lyrique Théâtre Lyrique
1891-06-18 18 June 1891 Bruneau Alfred Bruneau Reve Le rêve Lyrique Théâtre Lyrique[34]
1893-11-23 23 November 1893 Bruneau Alfred Bruneau Attaque L'attaque du moulin Lyrique Théâtre Lyrique
1899-05-24 24 May 1899 Massenet Jules Massenet Cendrillon]] Cendrillon Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1900-02-02 2 February 1900 Charpentier Gustave Charpentier Louise Louise Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1901-11-20 20 November 1901 Massenet Jules Massenet Griseldis]] Grisélidis Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1902-04-30 30 April 1902 Debussy Claude Debussy Pelléas Pelléas et Mélisande Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1907-05-10 10 May 1907 Dukas Paul Dukas Ariane et Barbe-bleue Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1907-06-05 5 June 1907 Messager André Messager Fortunio Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1910-11-30 30 November 1910 Bloch Ernest Bloch Macbeth Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1911-05-19 19 May 1911 Ravel Maurice Ravel Heure L'heure espagnole Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1914-05-15 15 May 1914 Rabaud Henri Rabaud Mârouf, savetier du Caire Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1914-05-15 25 December 1915 Rabaud Xavier Leroux Les cadeaux de Noël Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1927-12-16 16 December 1927 Milhaud Darius Milhaud Pauvre Le pauvre matelot Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1947-06-03 3 June 1947 Poulenc Francis Poulenc Mamelles Les mamelles de Tirésias Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)
1959-02-06 6 February 1959 Poulenc Francis Poulenc Voix La voix humaine Favart3 Salle Favart (3rd)


The information in the following list is compiled from Wild,[35] Levin,[36] and Wolff.[2]

1829–1830 Paul-Auguste Ducis
1830, July – 5 August, Jean-François Boursault, Alexandre Huvé de Garel
1830–1831 Alexandre Singier
1831–1832 Émile Lubbert
1832, 14 January – 1 June, Émile Laurent
1832–1834 Paul Dutreich
1834–1845 François-Louis Crosnier, Alphonse Cerfbeer (administrator)
1845–1848 Alexandre Basset
1848–1857 Émile Perrin
1857–1860 Nestor Roqueplan
1860–1862 Alfred Beaumont
1862, 1 February – 20 December, Émile Perrin
1862–1870 Adolphe de Leuven, Eugène Ritt
1870–1874 Adolphe de Leuven, Camille du Locle
1874-1876 Camille du Locle
1876-1887 Léon Carvalho
1887, May to December, Jules Barbier

1888-1891 Louis Paravey
1891-1897 Léon Carvalho
1898-1913 Albert Carré
1914-1918 Pierre-Barthélemy Gheusi, Émile and Vincent Isola
1919-1925 Albert Carré, Émile and Vincent Isola
1925-1931 Louis Masson and Georges Ricou
1931-1932 Louis Masson
1932-1936 Pierre-Barthélemy Gheusi
1936-1939 14 member committee presided by Antoine Mariotte
1939-1940 Henri Busser
1941-1944 Max d'Ollone
1944 Lucien Muratore
1944 (Liberation) 4 member committee: Roger Désormière, Pierre Jamin, Louis Musy and Emile Rousseau
1945-1946 Albert Wolff
1946-1948 Henry Malherbe
1948-1951 Emmanuel Bondeville
1952-1953 Louis Beydts

1990-1994 Thierry Fouquet
1994-1999 Pierre Médecin
2000-2007 Jérôme Savary
2007-2015 Jérôme Deschamps
2015 to present Olivier Mantei.[25]

Main façade of the theatre, 2012

Music Directors

1849-1868 Théophile Tilmant
1868-1876 Adolphe Deloffre
1876 Charles Constantin
1876-1877 Charles Lamoureux
1877-1898 Jules Danbé
1898-1904 André Messager
1904-1906 Alexandre Luigini
1906-1908 François Ruhlmann
1909 Gustave Doret

1910-1913 François Ruhlmann
1914-1918 Paul Vidal
1919-1921 André Messager
1921-1924 Albert Wolff
1924-1925 Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht
1925-1932 Maurice Frigara
1932-1936 Paul Bastide
1936-1944 Eugène Bigot
1947-1953 André Cluytens [37]

See also

Frédéric Blasius


  1. Opéra-Comique website accessed on 26 November 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Wolff 1953.
  3. 1 2 3 Harris-Warrick 1992, pp. 858860.
  4. 1 2 3 Pitou 1983, vol. 1, pp. 2425.
  5. 1 2 Johnson 2008, p. 162163.
  6. Wild 1992, p. 586.
  7. Warrack and West 1996, p. 376. Partial view at Google Books.
  8. 1 2 3 Harris-Warrick 1992, vol. 3, p. 863.
  9. 1 2 Cook 1992, p. 436.
  10. Gourret 1985, pp. 81–84
  11. Simeone 2000, p. 214.
  12. The music and libretto for Bernardo Porta's version of Le diable à quatre have not been found.
  13. Wild and Charlton 2005, p. 221.
  14. Charlton 1986, p. 6.
  15. Opera-Comique website: Historique, accessed 3 April 2009.
  16. 1 2 Harris-Warrick 1992.
  17. Nichols R. The Harlequin Years: music in Paris 1917-1929. Thames & Hudson, London, 2002.
  18. "Historique de 1936 à aujourd'hui" at the Opéra Comique website, accessed 31 March 2010.
  19. 1 2 3 Wolff, Stéphane. The Opéra-Comique of Paris. Opera, March 1961, Vol 12 No3, p160-165.
  20. 1 2 3 de Saint Pulgent, Maryvonne. L'Opéra-Comique - Le Gavroche de la Musique (Découvertes Gallimard 567). Gallimard, 2010. Chapitre 5 - Une Renaissance, p78-85.
  21. Lyrica, October 1978, page 83.
  22. Sadie, S. William Christie. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
  23. Décret n°2004-1232 du 20 novembre 2004 fixant le statut du Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique
  24. Blamont N. Report from Paris/Review of Ciboulette. Opera, June 2013, 758.
  25. 1 2 News item 'Pendant les travaux'. Diapason No 641, December 2015, p12.
  26. Pitou 1983, vol. 1, p. 56.
  27. Opéra-Comique website, accessed 4 April 2009.
  28. Sadie 1992, vol. 3, p. 688.
  29. Wild and Charlton 2005, pp. 21, 33, 48, 61, 64, 65, 77, 78, 81, 85, 95, 98.
  30. First performed at the Théâtre de la Cour at the Château Fontainebleau on 9 November 1771.
  31. Concert conducted by Berlioz.
  32. Based on Wild 2005, p. 410. Performed at the Nouveautés according to Forbes, Elizabeth, "Thomas, Ambroise" in Sadie 1992, vol. 4, p. 727. The Opéra-Comique was not performing at the Salle de la Bourse (Théâtre des Nouveautés) in 1850, according to Harris-Warrick 1992, p. 867.
  33. Based on Wild 2005, p. 95. Performed at the Salle Favart according to Macdonald, Hugh, "Lalo, Édouard" in Sadie 1992, vol. 2, p. 1086. No Salle Favart existed in 1888 according to Harris-Warrick 1992.
  34. Based on Wild 2005, p. 96. Performed at the Salle Favart according to Langham Smith, Richard, "Bruneau, Alfred" in Sadie 1992, vol. 1, p. 621. No Salle Favart existed in 1891 according to Harris-Warrick 1992.
  35. Wild 1989, p. 330
  36. Levin 2009, p. 386.
  37. Musical Directors taken from Wolff 1953.
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