Nice’s Magnificent Opéra de Nice on the Seafront:
Although Nice’s magnificent opera house, the Opéra de Nice, was built in 1885, there has been a theatre at this seaside location for over 100 years before that.
In 1776, the Marquis Alli-Maccarani obtained permission from the King of Sardinia to convert his old dwelling into a theatre. The Maccarani Theatre was a small wooden construction owned by the Marquis.
In 1826, on the advice of King Charles Felix of Savoy, the City of Nice purchased the Maccarani Theatre, demolished it and then built a grand opera house in neoclassical style along the lines of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Brunati, the city’s architect and Perotti, an architect from Turin were charged with the construction.
In 1881, during the opening performance of Lucia di Lammermoor a gas explosion caused a massive fire and the theatre was completely destroy taking lives with it. The municipality decided to build a new theatre on the existing site and Francois Aune, another Nice architect, was charged with the building of the new opera house. Francois Aune, a student of Gustave Eiffel, submitted his proposed plans and these were validated by Charles Garnier, who was then Inspector of Civic buildings. This new municipal theatre was inaugurated on 7 February 1885 with the grand performance of Verdi’s Aida.
In 1902, the Municipal Theatre, as it was then known was renamed the Opéra de Nice and the building was classified as a historic monument in March 1992.
Some elements of the opera house have been changed since its original construction such as the stage, which was rebuilt and modernized in 1979. The orchestra pit, with its modern mobile platform, can increase significantly the number of musicians for concerts that require the interpretation of a wider repertoire. Important restoration works both internal and external have been carried out to restore the building to its original identity.
With a seating capacity of 1,093 places, the Opéra de Nice today offers a quality program of operatic arias and classics and the ballet company has been expanding its repertoire to meet the demands of dance lovers. The Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, with its 98 musicians, is considered one of the best orchestras in the province.
To get to the Opéra de Nice, the Tramway No. 1 goes to station Opéra-Vieille Ville.
Opéra de Nice
4 & 6 rue Saint-François-de-Paule
Map of Nice: