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If there is one opera house that bears witness to the theatrical past of its town, then it is the Opéra Nouvel. This opera house was built between 1756 and 1832 to cater to the growing popularity of opera in Lyon at the end of the 18th Century. Following a competition set up by the Council of Lyons, the Opera House was renovated by the architect Jean Nouvel who retained its original structure and the four outer facades whilst giving it a modern facelift. It now accommodates a corps de ballet, an orchestra as well as many rehearsal rooms, storage areas for costumes and props. Apart from opera performances, audiences will definitely enjoy the impressive line-up pf dance shows, cultural events and concerts featured every year.
In prestigious surroundings, the Célestins offers an unbelievable and magical decor as well as an exceptional program. Built by the architect G. André between 1872 and 1877, this theater is considered to be one of the most eloquent Italian-style theaters (the main hall houses the stage and tiers). The original structure, dating back to 1789-1792 had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1871, which destroyed the main hall. The neoclassical façade presents many antique style columns and semi-circular bay windows made from different colored materials. Inside the main hall, the ceiling painted by J. Domer in 1881 and called 'la comédie d'Aristophane', depicting the famous Greek poet surrounded by Athena and musical allegories, has been preserved. From the Place des Célestins, there is an unobstructed view of the theater's façade and also see from the underground car park through a periscope! A popular landmark and an integral part of the city's cultural milieu, this theater features a great line-up of classical and contemporary plays all year round.
The fantastic 2000-seater hall Auditorium has chairs made from grey anthracite wood and adjoins the National Orchestra of Lyon, where Emmanuel Krivine was conductor for ten years. The hall has just been renovated and the acoustics have been greatly improved. The programs played are essentially classical, although you do often hear touring musicians from Burundi, Brazil and other places, and other types of music are sometimes given centre stage.
The Maison de la Danse is devoted to defending the art of dance by providing a beautiful, elegant venue to present dance performances to the public. It has proven to be a great success since its beginnings in 1980 and makes continual efforts to fascinate the public and explore the boundaries of dance. Choreographers and dancers present diverse and imaginative extremes of culture and aesthetic through dance. Reservations can be made online, at the box office, over the phone, or through ticket agencies. See website for details and current programming.