© Vichy Opera House | Xavier Thomas
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Opera of Vichy

The Vichy Opera House, a pure jewel of Art Nouveau style [1901] with 1480 seats, offers many events related to live performance. Since its renovation in 1995, the Opera has organized about sixty events throughout the year.

A little history

The 20's in Vichy

To evoke the Vichy opera is inevitably to return to the 1920s, or roaring twenties, when the elite of the five continents flocked to Vichy, drawn by the powerful attraction of gambling, the promise of a social and cultural life of good taste and the blind belief in the beautiful square speeches of an imperious, if not imperial, medicine. Very often, a simple but presentable chronic ailment was used as an alibi to come and “stay” in Vichy, a place of “holiday” par excellence. Staying and vacationing, two words that are stuck in the back of the dictionary but not so outdated as to shape, even today, the aura of this city where the past and the present are intimately mixed.

Discover the history of the Vichy Opera

A unique building

Opera... and Palais des congrès

The centerpiece of the city’s architectural heritage, the Palais des congrès – Opéra is made up of the former Grand casino, built in 1865 at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, and the opera hall, whose construction was completed in 1901. The convention center now hosts all kinds of events including The Emperor’s Teas or the Napoleon III Festivals.

Jewel

Gold and ivory

Unique in Europe

The architecture of theFrench-style theater is designed as a shell, with no pillars to get in the way of the audience, thanks to a metal framework that supports the roof and walls. Its décor is remarkable for its patterns and ivory and gold hues. It is the joint work ofPierre Seguin for the sculpted ornaments and the painter-decorator Léon Rudnicki. The latter designed “a unique decorative style dedicated to oral delights.Volubilis, roses, daisies … bloom in beautiful harmony.” No ostentatious chandelier, but a monumental dome equipped with a hundred bulbs and a ventilation system hidden in the series of lyres.

Style

Art Nouveau

of the Opera of Vichy

Perfect example of the “Art Nouveau” style, its painted decoration by Léon Rudnicki is unique, entirely devoted to floral motifs: roses, daisies, volubilis, and chrysanthemums harmonize with the gold and ivory colors. The lyre is a very present element, we find it along the perimeters of the orchestra, in the hollow of the trees of the second balcony, and at the fallout of the vault where the instrument is adorned with ribbons, plants, and faces of contemporary artists of the time, adorned with stones, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Réjane, Mounet-Sully, Coquelin etc…

Unusual

Backstage

Behind the stucco and the gilding are hidden metal structures, forgotten mansards, indiscreet eyelets, tangles of rods…

The Opera Library

A priceless treasure

During a photo report in search of the aestheticism of these hidden and difficult to access places, the photographer falls under the spell of a forgotten library in which the scores of the works performed on the opera stage are sleeping.

They have marked

The Opera of Vichy

Leon Rudniki

Léon Rudnicki arrived in France in 1876 with his Polish family, who had emigrated for political reasons, and began his education at the Polish School in Paris. He became a naturalized French citizen on October 19, 1891. In 1892, Rudnicki entered the National School of Decorative Arts and was taught by, among others, the Belgian architect Lucien Woog.For Woog, he created part of the frescoes and ornamentation of the great hall of the Vichy Opera (1903) under the direction of Charles Le Coeur, his wedding witness and friend, and received the academic palms on May 29, 1903.

Isaac Strauss

Conductor of the Paris Opera balls and the imperial court, Isaac Strauss arrived in Vichy in 1844 and conducted, with glory for 20 years, the salons of the Thermal Establishment. Thanks to him, Vichy acquired a reputation as a city of pleasure that would grow in the following century. His neo-classical style house, was built by the architect Hugues Batillat in 1858 (4, rue de Belgique). Napoleon III resided there during his first stays in Vichy, in 1861 and 1862.

 

To go further

Vichy Culture

To go further, you can discover the Vichy Opera Museum but also the Vichy Cultural Center with its more intimate room or our media library.