Thursday 10 March 2005

Opera Lyon

We spent last weekend in Lyon at the opera, they were doing a new production of Chabrier's Le Roi Malgre Lui. An opera that I love dearly and have now seen 3 times, never in an entirely satisfactory production. My review of the opera, along with some pictures is on Music and Vision, here.

The opera house at Lyon is a truly remarkable building. Originally dating from the 19th century is has been radically overhauled and brought into the 21st. The lovely facade of the original building has been kept, but over the top there is a remarkable cureved steel and glass structure, reminiscent of Charing Cross station. Inside they have kept the plaster and gilt foyer overlooking the entrance, but everything else is new. You enter into a world of gleaming black marble, dramatic lights and escalators. The theatre itself is all modern black, rather like the auditorium at Sadlers Wells Theatre here in London. The strange thing is that they have kept the traditional horseshoe format, with a deep U shaped stalls (Parterre) and an amazing 6 layers of balconies; the proscenium arch is equally high. I am not sure what the stage facilities are like as the production we saw did not really use any of them (much of it took place on a bare stage). The city of Lyon website has further info here. The audience was pretty diverse, the whole experience of opera going was refreshingly un-grand.

One logistical curiosity though, the toilet provision for men seemed to be rather inadequate, do French men have better bladder control than the English?

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