A striking cultural entertainment landmark and home to the National Opera of Lyon.
The Lyon Opera with its exciting and diverse program of events that appeal to all ages and tastes is an impressive space that successfully blends classical and contemporary culture. Free live jazz concerts outdoors in the summer, drinks and food available during shows.
The origins of the Lyon Opera date back to 1756 when Jacques-Germain Soufflot, architect of the Panthéon in Paris, created the first Lyon Opera. Almost a hundred years later it was deemed too small and Antoine-Marie Chenavard and Jean-Marie Pollet built the new Lyon Opera which opened in 1831.
Another hundred years later the city of Lyon decided the building was still not sufficient and using the original 1831 building, a collaboration between distinguished French architect Jean Nouvel and French scenography company Ducks Scéno along with acoustician Frits Peutz resulted in the present form of the Lyon Opera.
Work was completed in 1993 and Serge Dorny was appointed general director in 2003.
The style of the building is essential Italian with a horseshoe-shaped auditorium. The height of the building was effectively doubled by the creation of a striking steel and glass barrel vault which cleverly concealed the theatrical rigging system and provided additional space for the ballet company.
It is well considered an architectural tour de force with its use of traditional and modern styles.
The Opera of Lyon lies at the heart of the city and is a beautiful building with an exciting program of events for adults and children alike. It’s an important cultural monument which links the past with the present and the outdoor jazz café is a perfect place to spend a summer evening.
The National Opera
The Lyon Opera has seen many significant world premiers of French operas including Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger in 1896 and Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung in 1967.
The principal conductor of the orchestra since 2008 is Kazushi Ono and two other notable French artists associated with the Opera are stage director Laurent Kelly and soprano Natalie Dessay.
The company maintains its own permanent orchestra, choir and ballet. The choir has been conducted since 1995 by Alan Woodbridge.
Lyon Opera Ballet
The Lyon Opera Ballet include 31 international dancers who, under the direction of Yorgos Loukos, present an exciting postmodern and contemporary repertoire. The idea being to preserve a classical structure directed towards contemporary dance.
Le Péristyle Café-Jazz
Making the most of the beautiful outdoor covered terrace at the front of the building, the Opera of Lyon puts on a quality program of jazz beginning every year in June.
The concerts are everyday at 7pm, 8:15pm and 10pm and admission is free.
Location and access
The Lyon Opera is located next to the River Rhone a few hundred metres from Place Terreaux and near Rue de République and the Musée des Beaux Arts.
It faces the town hall of Lyon “Hotel de Ville and is at the entrance to metro station “Hotel de Ville”.
Its very easy to find from anywhere in the city.