Opera Comique Theatre in Paris
The Opera Comique is a lovely venue for light opera that mixes singing with spoken drama, rather than full opera like you would get to see at the Opera Bastille or the very ornate Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris.
A bit of history on Opera Comque
The Opera Comique is one of the oldest French dramatic and musical institutions that was originally founded back in 1714 during the reign of King Louis XIV and by 1762 it was merged with the Comedie-Italienne and occupied the building called Hotel de Bourgogne.
Then by 1780, the company that produced the theatre productions was renamed the Opera Comique again, and in 1783 they moved to the Salle Favart, which was a theatre named after the librettist Charles-Simon Favart.
But due to less stringent restrictions on the opening of theatres, it soon started to face competition from other theatres in Paris, and during this time the Opera Comique merged with the Theatre Feydeau in 1801.
Then it was in 1807 under the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte I that the Opera Comique was named one of the four primary theatres in Paris, but unfortunately the original Salle Favart burned down in 1838, yet by 1840 a second Salle Favart had been built on the same site.
But things still did not go smoothly and a major fire in 1887 took the lives of over eighty people, which resulted in the theatre being destroyed, yet by the December of 1898 a third Salle Favert was inaugurated and it was one of the first theatres to be built with electricity. And although on a smaller scale compared to the Palais Garnier, it is still a lovely ornate building where over 400 works were performed at the Opera Comique in Paris between 1900 and 1950 alone.
However, in 1972 the Opera Comique company was closed, even though some productions were still performed at the theatre, and the company was only reformed in 1990 and then registered with the list of national theatres in 2005.
About Opera Comique
The Opera Comique is a beautiful and ornate building with frescos, statues, gilded artworks, carvings, sculptures and more, that really puts across a sense of awe, even prior to the performance. And even though the name makes you feel like it is going to be comedy, this is not necessarily the case, as it is normally song combined with spoken drama and there are many different works performed here such as Carmen, Tosca and Don Giovanni to name a few you may recognise.
They also hold matinee performances designed for a younger audience and for families, which is a great way of introducing children to the world of theatre in a fun way, rather than full opera like you would get at the Opera Bastille or the Palais Garnier Opera House.
The Opera Comique also holds special events such as recitals accompanied by a drink with the artists afterwards, or you can even discover more about the work that you will see performed in a presentation prior to the performance, which lasts approximately 40 minutes.
Access to Opera Comique Theatre in Paris
A seat will range in cost from €15 up to around €120 for the best seats in the house, as of the start of 2013, and you book on the day or via telephone in advance.
However there are discounts available for those that are disabled or have sensory impairments and there is dedicated seating in the orchestra section along with a lift for those with mobility problems.
Plus some of the theatre performances are accessible to those that are visually impaired through dedicated audio description devises that are distributed free of charge on the day, along with assistive listening devises can also be obtained for those with hearing difficulties.
You will find that the theatre actually opens 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance and the bar of the Opera Comique, which serves drinks and snacks also opens at the same time.
The main entrance is via the Salle Favart and as of December 2012 there is a new lift in place on the new Rue Favart entrance, however, there is another entrance to the theatre on the Rue Marivaux, which also allows direct access to the elevator.
Located in the 2nd Arrondissement of Paris the nearest Metro stations are called the Richelieu-Drouot via lines 8 and 9 or the Quatre-Septembre on line 3, yet the closest RER train station is Auber on line A.
There are numerous Paris buses that will get you to this theatre such as numbers 20, 29, 39, 42, 48, 67, 74 and 85, but if you have your own means of transport, then there is parking at Chauchat Drouot car park, with a special rate of only €5 from 6pm through to 2am, providing you obtain a voucher from the shop of the Opera Comique on production of your ticket.