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Théâtre du Palais-Royal (rue Saint-Honoré)

Jacques Lemercier

alias Great Hall of the Palais-Cardinal, Salle du Palais-Royal
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)14.1.1641 | opening
It opened on 14 Jan. 1641 in the presence of the King and Queen and a brilliant audience with a production of Mirame, attributed to Jean Desmarets but partly the work of Richelieu himself. The new machinery and splendid settings, accessories in opera, were received with admiration and applause.
(detail)6.4.1763 | conflagration
The building was destroyed by fire.
(detail)1781 | closure


Jacques Lemercier |main architect


The first theatre of this name was a priyate playhouse in the home of Cardinal Richelieu. Long and narrow, it was splendidly decorated, held about 600 people, and its stage was equipped with all the latest Italian machinery. It was formally inaugurated on 14 Jan. 1641 with a spectacular performance of Desmarets's Mirame in the presence of Louis XIII and his Court. After Riche­lieu's death in the following year the theatre became the property of the King and was used intermittently for Court entertainments until 1660, when it was given to Moliere  in place of the demolished Petit-Bourbon. Ten years later it was rebuilt and enlarged and equipped with the new machinery neces­sary for spectacular productions of opera. It reopened with Moliere's Psyche (1671), and he continued to play there until his death in 1673. Lully, who held a monopoly of music in France, immediately claimed the Palais-Royal for his new Academy of Music, and it was so called until it was burnt down in 1763. Rebuilt, it was again destroyed by fire in 1781.


In: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.   ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 412




Author: Hartnoll Phyllis

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