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Théâtre Feydeau

Jacques Molinos, Jacques-Guillaume Legrand

alias Théâtre français de la rue Feydeau, Théâtre français et italien de la rue Feydeau, Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, Théâtre français et Opera-buffa, Théâtre lyrique de la rue Feydeau
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)6.1.1791 | Opening
Constructed to the design by Jacques Molinos and Jacques-Guillaume Legrand. Opened by an opera Nozze di Dorina.
(detail)16.4.1829 | demolition


Jacques Molinos |main architect


"The Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique is built upon a very narrow piece of ground, and is enclosed on all sides by private houses, so that its front, which is presented obliquely, can scarcely be seen. The form of the edifice is a quadrilateral figure, prolonged in front by a semicircle described from the centre of the house. It is one hundred and thirty-eight feet in length by eighty-four in breadth. Three spacious open arches in the basement allow carriages to enter. Eight cariatides, in the style of those of the temple of Minerva Polias at Athens, form the decoration of the first storey. Between the cariatides are large arched windows, which give light to the saloon. The front, which is fifty-six feet in height, is crowned by an entablature, the frieze of which is ornamented with roses. The entire front is rusticated. The roof of the building resting on a gable, pierced with arched windows, is seen in the back ground.
To obtain a covered vestibule and other dependencies, such as a box-lobby, a guard-room, etc., it was necessary to form the theatre at the first floor. By this means it has the advantage of a public passage under the house, with a cross passage under the stage, which serves as a substitute for the porticoes so necessary in buildings of this description. This passage forms a communication from the rue Feydeau to the rue des Colonnes, the rue des Filles Saint Thomas and the rue Vivienne: it is obscure in the day, but in the evening is rendered agreeable by the light of the numerous shops with which it is skirted.

The form of the house is nearly circular. The diameter, taken at the pit, is forty-eight feet; taken at the upper tier of boxes it is seventy-seven. This difference will suggest in a moment the amphitheatrical aspect of the decorations. Above the baignoires which surround the pit is a projecting circular balcony, called the premiere galerie,  behind which rises a range of twenty-eight Corinthian columns, supporting an entablature and a second gallery; behind the second gallery is seen a range of thirty-two columns of the composite, order, which support an entablature and a third gallery; and above the latter, opposite the stage, a range of small lunetta boxes is contrived in the ceiling. Between the first range of columns are two tiers of boxes, and in the  intercolumniations of the second range appears a third.
The archivault of the proscenium is richly ornamented with caissons and roses in gold; the remainder is painted in imitation of marble, as is the whole of the architecture of the house. The capitals of the columns, which are extended to the proscenium, are white enriched with gold. The first frieze is decorated with foliage, and the second with palm-leaves. The interior of the boxes is blue. The columns are of small diameter, and have a graceful aspect. The ceiling represents an ample tent of white canvas, fastened at the circumference by grotesque masks in gold. Upon a broad blue border are griffons, and in eighteen compartments are rich arabesques in gold interspersed with cameos. All these ornaments were executed by M. Ciceri. The curtain represents a rich blue drapery, with gold tassels and fringe.
Nothing was neglected in the construction of this theatre to render it sonorous. The amphitheatrical disposition of the boxes, the plain surface above the upper gallery, the construction of the ceiling with choice wood, and upon the same principle as a stringed instrument, and the vaulting beneath the orchestra, which sends into the house the finest notes, all contribute to render this theatre eminently favourable to music."


In:  Whittaker, G. B.: The History of Paris from the Earliest Period to the Present Day: Vol. II. London, 1825 p. 497 - 500





Author: G. B Whittaker

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