Opéra-Comique, Salle Favart and Salle Feydeau
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The Salle Favart, located in rue Favart, has been through no less than three successive versions in its long history. The first Salle Favart, built in 1781-1783 to house the Comédie Italienne, was inaugurated in 1783. It was later renamed Théâtre Royal Italien (or Théâtre Italien for short). It was burnt down in 1838, but immediately rebuilt and opened again in 1840 as the home of the company of the Opéra-Comique (second Salle Favart). Destroyed again by fire in 1887, the theatre was rebuilt again between 1894-1898, but on a different plan from its predecessor (third Salle Favart, still extant).
It was in the second Salle Favart that La Damnation de Faust received its ill-fated première on 6 December 1846, with a second and no more successful performance on 20 December. This was one of the worst setbacks in Berlioz’s career, which left him heavily in debt, and profoundly affected his attitude to the performance of his music in Paris (Memoirs chapter 54).
Before moving to the Salle Favart in 1840, the Opéra-Comique company had been housed in the Salle Feydeau from 1801 to 1829. The Salle Feydeau, located in rue Feydeau some 200 yards away from Salle Favart, was built in 1789 but disappeared in 1833 with the construction of the Rue de la Bourse. On 25 February 1829 Berlioz’s overture Waverley was performed there.
Unless otherwise specified, all the photographs reproduced on this page were taken by Michel Austin; other pictures have been scanned from engravings in our own collection. © Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin. All rights of reproduction reserved.
The first four photos below show the Salle Favart in its present (third)
state. These are followed by four pictures, scanned from
contemporary engravings. The first two of these show respectively the first and the second Salle Favart which Berlioz
knew. The last two show the Salle Feydeau.
Salle Favart, main entrance, from Place Boïeldieu
Front façade and top floors
View from the side street
Théâtre Royal Italien (first Salle Favart) in 1829
This engraving is in our own collection.
Théâtre Royal de l’Opéra-Comique (second Salle Favart) in 1840
We are most grateful to our friend Gene Halaburt who sent us the
Interior of Théâtre Royal de l’Opéra-Comique in 1843
The above engraving was published in L’Illustration of 10 June 1843, a copy of
which is in our collection.
We are most grateful to M. Laurent Ludart who sent us
the above picture.
We are most grateful to M. Laurent Ludart who sent us the above picture.
© (unless otherwise stated) Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin for all the pictures and information on this page.
Copyright notice: The texts, photos, images and musical scores on all pages of this site are covered by UK Law and International Law. All rights of publication or reproduction of this material in any form, including Web page use, are reserved. Their use without our explicit permission is illegal.
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