Opéra de Nice
History and museums
The Opéra de Nice is the principal opera venue in Nice, France.
It offers three types of performances: operas, ballets and classical concerts ; and houses the Ballet Nice Méditerrannée and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra.
The “petit théâtre en bois” was first created in 1776 by Marquess Alli-Maccarani. Sold in 1787, it reopened in 1790 under the name “Théâtre Royal”.
In 1826, the city of Nice, encouraged by King Charles Félix, bought it from its owners and had it destroyed and rebuilt. It was inaugurated in 1828 with Giovanni Pacini's Il Barone di Bolsheim.
In 1856, a great ball was organized in the honour of King Victor Emmanuel II.
In 1860, Napoleon III was invited to attend an evening at the Théâtre Royal. For this exceptional occasion, Johann Strauss himself led the orchestra. The same year, the theatre became the “Théâtre Impérial”. In 1864, Napoleon III came back with Tsar Alexander II of Russia. In 1868, Louis II, Duke of Bavaria attended a performance of Cendrillon.
The Théâtre Royal was renamed “Théâtre Municipal” in 1870.
On Wednesday, March 23rd 1881, as the opera Lucia di Lammermoor began, a gas leak started a huge fire. The fire was controlled the next day but there was nothing left of the theatre. Three siblings of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser died in the fire: Lizzie, Kate and James (soprano, contralto and baritone respectively). The city of Nice immediately decided to rebuild another theatre on the same spot. It was imagined by architect François Aune with the approval of Charles Garnier. On February 7th 1885, the Théâtre Municipal re-opened with Verdi’s Aida.
In 1902, it was named Opéra de Nice and is today referred to as Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur.
From 2001 to 2009 the director-general was the Belgian producer Paul-Émile Fourny. He was succeeded by Jacques Hédouin, with a policy of closer working with the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, as well as closer collaboration with the two regional orchestras, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and the Orchestre régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur.
In November 2012, Marc Adam became the new artistic director of the opera. The same month tenor Jonas Kaufmann performed there.
The Diacosmie is the workshop of the Opéra de Nice, where everything from costumes to sets is created. The building also houses rehearsal rooms for the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ballet Nice Méditerrannée.