Grand Theatre, Bordeaux

4 out of 5 stars 17 Reviews

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  • The Attique
    The Attique
    by Nemorino
  • Grétry
    Grétry
    by Nemorino
  • Ceiling of the auditorium
    Ceiling of the auditorium
    by Nemorino
  • Mique's Profile Photo

    Grand theatre

    by Mique Updated Jul 21, 2004

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    It's a nice building to see from the outside but the inside is stunning. And fortunately you can make pictures as long as you don't get any further then the small steps that lead up to the main staircase...

    The gards were looking and laughing a bit when i started to make pictures but who cares.. i have them..

    The Grande Theatre's staircase
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    The Grand Theater

    by ceswho Updated Jan 10, 2004

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    Inaugurated on the 7th April 1780 with a performance of "Athalie," finest building designed by the architect Louis, stands on the site of the Gallo-Roma Tutelle Pillars, the forum in the 3rd century city. Twelve Corinthian columns support the entablature on the peristyle that is , in fact, an audacious piece of bulding for it is held by a metal tie placed inside the construction, compensating for the enormous thrusts fro the flat vaulting. This invention remained famous and is known as "Mr. Louis Nail. " Above it are the twelve statues by Berruer and Van Den Drix, representing the nine Muses, Juno, Venus and Minerva

    Grand Theater
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    Le Grand Théâtre

    by black_mimi99 Updated Feb 1, 2008

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    From 'Place gambetta', following 'Cours de l'intendance' we get to the 'Grand Theater'. This neoclassical theater was designed by Victor Louis at the end of the 18th century. It opened its doors in 1780, and since then it has been the center of the artistic life in Bordeaux. In 1991 the inside of the theater was restored, its original blue and gold colors were respected. The theater's beautiful portico is decorated with 12 Corinthian style columns. On the top of the facade are 12 statues; nine represent the art muses and three the goddess Juno, Venus and Minerva.

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    Grand Theatre

    by Gypsystravels Updated Feb 19, 2009

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    Located here in the Place de Comedie is the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux. It really is a beautiful site to see. The structure was designed by Victor Louis. The theatre has a neo-classical facade with the portico decorated with 12 Corinthian style columns and on top of the facade are 12 statues, 9 of which represent the art muses and three goddesses (Juno, Venus, and Minerva).

    The interior of the building is quite impressive as well with its double staircase leading to the theatre.

    Stairs leading to the theatre Exterior of the Grande Theatre Detail of the colums and the statues Another view of the theatre

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    The Grand Staircase

    by Nemorino Written Apr 12, 2015

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    When the architect Charles Garnier (1825-1898) was making plans to build what is now called the Opéra Garnier in Paris, he first did a critical study of the staircases he had seen in prominent European theaters, and then wrote an article about them. He acknowledged that his inspiration came primarily from the staircase by Victor Louis (1731-1800) in the Grand-Théâtre of Bordeaux.

    Of course Garnier’s staircase in Paris is much larger and more impressive, but it has the same general form as the one in Bordeaux and was built nearly a century later, after all. In both cases, the intention was to provide a setting where elegantly dressed opera goers could see and be seen (by each other) in their full glory as they entered the building.

    Today’s opera goers tend to be more casually dressed, especially in France, so the Grand Staircases no longer serve the same social function as they did in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Second photo: The statues on the Grand Staircase are all of women and of course all allegorical. Two of them are caryatids, lovely ladies who seem to be supporting part of the building with their heads. The caryatid on the left is Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, and the one on the right is Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy. The sculptor was Pierre-François Berruer (1733-1797).

    Third photo: The statue in the alcove on the left side of the staircase is no doubt Euterpe, the Muse of Music.

    Fourth photo: The vestibule and the Grand Staircase.

    Fifth photo: Looking down at the Grand Staircase, from the Attique. The decorations are part of the exposition Au-delà du miroir.

    Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Grand-Théâtre
    Tram B: Grand-Théâtre
    Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 85 95
    Website: http://visitepalaisgarnier.fr/en/charles-garniers-grand-staircase

    Next: Salle Boireau

    The Grand Staircase Statues on the Grand Staircase Euterpe, the Muse of Music The Grand Staircase The Grand Staircase from above
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    The National Opera of Bordeaux

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 12, 2015

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    Bordeaux is one of six French cities with a ‘National Opera’, the others being Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg (with Colmar and Mulhouse), Montpellier and Nancy.

    A ‘National Opera’ is an opera company that is partially financed by the Ministry of Culture in return for fulfilling a catalogue of artistic, professional, territorial and social objectives. These include:
    • performing operas from all periods of opera history, from the baroque era to the present
    • supporting an ensemble of singers, including young professionals
    • giving a specified number of performances in other venues throughout the region
    • doing outreach activities to attract new audiences for the opera

    The National Opera of Bordeaux is located in the Grand-Théâtre, a truly grand building from the year 1780.

    My first photo shows the Place de la Comédie with the opera house on the right. The column in the middle of the photo, off in the distance, belongs to the Monument to the Memory of the Girondins.

    Second photo: The Grand-Théâtre has a neo-classical façade and a portico with twelve Corinthian columns. Above the columns, on the ‘entablature’ are twelve statues which represent three ancient Greek goddesses (Juno, Venus and Minerva) and the nine muses (Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore and Thalia and Urania, though not necessarily in that order.)

    Third photo: On one of the upper floors there is an exhibit on the history of opera, starting with the Baroque period from around 1600 to 1750. As a National Opera the Bordeaux Opera presents at least one Baroque opera each season, for instance in April 2015 the lyric tragedy Dardanus by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764).

    Fourth and fifth photos: The highest point of the building, resembling a crown, is called the Attique – a word which is no doubt related to the English word attic.

    Historical postcard views of the Grand-Théâtre on Carthalia.

    Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Grand-Théâtre
    Tram B: Grand-Théâtre
    Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 85 95
    Website: http://www.opera-bordeaux.com/

    Next: Through the Looking Glass

    Place de la Com��die The Grand Theater Exhibit on the history of opera The Attique Looking up at the Attique
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    Through the Looking Glass

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 12, 2015

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    In 2014 the Grand-Théâtre was open all summer for an exposition called Au-delà du miroir, which means “Beyond the mirror” or, as they translated it, “Through the looking glass”. The exposition was advertised as the last production of the Giulio Achilli, who is leaving Bordeaux after eighteen years as Technical Director of the National Opera.

    The year before, Achilli had done another exposition called “Alice in the world of opera”, so this one was a sequel, so to speak, just as Lewis Carroll’s book Through the looking glass (1871) was a sequel to his earlier book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

    In case anyone was in doubt about where the title of the expositions came from, one of the rooms had a full-size doll of Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, as she did in Carroll’s first book.

    (Confusingly, the translation of Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass that you can buy in French bookshops is not called Au-delà du miroir, but rather De l'autre côté du miroir.)

    Second photo: This room of the exposition is entitled “Perspective” and includes a chess set, to remind us of Alice moving around a fantastic countryside which is arranged like a gigantic chess set in the book Through the Looking Glass. Like many parts of the exposition, this installation was originally part of a stage set for an opera production, though I don’t know which one since I have never been to an opera performance in Bordeaux (yet).

    Third photo: Another full-size doll is this one of a workman in Salle Boireau. Actually it is only the top have of him, whereas . . .

    Fourth photo: . . . his legs are hanging from the ceiling on the floor below, where there is also a ladder leaning against one of the white stone columns to suggest how he might have climbed up there.

    Fifth photo: This is the poster on the outside of the opera house advertising the exposition Au-delà du miroir.

    Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Grand-Théâtre
    Tram B: Grand-Théâtre
    Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 85 95
    Website: http://canal-com.eu/exposition-dete-au-dela-du-miroir-opera-national-bordeaux-707-3108/

    Next: The Grand Staircase

    Alice in Wonderland Perspective Workman in Salle Boireau Legs of the workman below Salle Boireau Poster
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    The Theater: The Grand Entry

    by hquittner Updated Mar 17, 2009

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    It is easiest to see the theater by attending a performance. Various musical events occur here. This is what we did (See our Nightlife Tip). The theater was built in the late 18C and has excellent acoustics. It is elaborately designed and houses an upstairs small recital hall which we did not see. The stage for concerts has a fine back-drop and proscenium. The entrance foyer and main staircase are impressive as well. The outside is Neoclassical.

    Outside the Theater The Foyer The Impressive Main Staircase Vaulted to the Top A Lateral View of the Performance Hall
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    Guided tour of the opera house

    by Nemorino Written Apr 12, 2015

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    Two days after my first visit, I took a guided tour of the Grand-Théâtre with a guide from the city tourist office.

    Though I did not learn anything strikingly new on this tour, it was still a pleasant experience because I could understand more or less everything the guide was saying (which is not always the case with my B2-level of French listening comprehension).

    Fifth photo: I tried to book the tour in the theater lobby, where they were selling tickets for the exposition Au-delà du miroir. But they told me that since the tour was organized by the city tourist office, I had to go there to get a ticket. Fortunately the tourist office is only a block away, on the street called Cours du 30 Juillet, about halfway between the theater and the Monument to the Memory of the Girondins.

    Address of the tourist office: 12 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Quinconces (This is a station which seems to have a chronic shortage of bicycles, so if it’s empty you might want to try the nearby VCub station Grand-Théâtre on Rue Esprit des Lois.)
    Tram B & C: Quinconces
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 66 00
    Website: http://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/

    Next: Monument to the Girondins

    Guided tour Tour group Tour group in the Attique Our guide Tourist office
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    Salle Boireau

    by Nemorino Written Apr 12, 2015

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    The main foyer on the first floor of the theater, at the top of the Grand Staircase, is now called Salle Boireau. It was named after Gérard Boireau, who was the director of the Grand Théâtre for many years, until his death in 2004.

    Second photo: In the center of the room is (or was) a large circle of triangular mirrors slanted slightly in different directions, to reflect different sections of the elegantly painted walls and ceiling.

    Third photo: Above the doors, just below the ceiling, are portraits of some famous or then-famous people, including the composer André-Modeste Grétry (1741-1813), whom I have described in two other reviews:
    • Grétry birth house and museum in Liège, Belgium
    • Grétry in Montmorency, France

    Fourth and fifth photos: The ceiling of Salle Boireau, seen from two different angles.

    Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Grand-Théâtre
    Tram B: Grand-Théâtre
    Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 85 95
    Website: http://www.opera-bordeaux.com/

    Next: Auditorium of the Grand-Théâtre

    Salle Boireau Mirrors Gr��try Ceiling of Salle Boireau Ceiling of Salle Boireau
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    Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

    by Sambawalk Updated May 24, 2009

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    Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, is a Theatre in Bordeaux, France, first inaugurated on 17 April 1780. It was in this theatre that the ballet La Fille Mal Gardée premiered in 1789, and where a young Marius Petipa staged some of his first ballets.

    The Theatre was designed by the architect Victor Louis (1731-1800), who was selected for the task by winning the famous Grand Prix de Rome. Louis was also famous for designing the Palais Royal, and the Théâtre Français in Paris.

    The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux was conceived as a temple of the Arts and Light, with a neo-classical facade endowed with a portico of 12 Corinthian style colossal columns which support an entablature on which stand 12 statues that represent the nine muses and three goddesses (Juno, Venus, and Minerva).

    In 1871 the theatre was briefly the National Assembly for the French Parliament.

    The inside of the theatre was restored in 1991, and once again has its original colours of blue and gold. The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is the oldest wooden frame opera house in Europe not to have burnt or required rebuilding.

    Today the theatre is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the Ballet National de Bordeaux.

    Grand Th����tre de Bordeaux

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    The Theater: See Where the Action Is

    by hquittner Written Mar 17, 2009

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    The theater has a fanciful trompe l'oeil backdrop and a similarly created florid proscenium. They are a throwback to the Palladian theater in Vicenza. The ceiling is painted in graceful symbolic Rococo female figures, who also appear in plaster and three dimensional on the support walls. It is hard to depart down the great stairs.

    The Trompe l'Oeil Backdrop And the Proscenium The Painted Ceiling A Plater Statue For the Big Splurge
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    Auditorium of the Grand-Théâtre

    by Nemorino Written Apr 12, 2015

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    The auditorium or Grande Salle (Large Hall) could originally accommodate 1700 spectators, many of them standing, but subsequent renovations have reduced that number to 1114. Now they all have seats, and the seats are larger and have more leg room, simply because people are now larger than they were in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    During the exposition Au-delà du miroir in the summer of 2014, the auditorium was illuminated in different colors in an ever-changing light show.

    Fifth photo: The ceiling of the auditorium, lit up in blue.

    Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
    Directions: VCub bicycle station Grand-Théâtre
    Tram B: Grand-Théâtre
    Location, aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 56 00 85 95
    Website: http://www.opera-bordeaux.com/

    Next: Guided tour of the opera house

    Auditorium Auditorium Auditorium Auditorium Ceiling of the auditorium
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    Grand Theatre

    by Roadquill Written Jul 28, 2011

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    Right in the middle of the city center at place comedie, is the regal Grand Theatre. Unfortunately the music/ballet season was over in July, but on the plus side they turned the theatre into a museum featuring the costumes of the myriad of ballets and opera staged there. The inside is quite stunning, with decorated boxes allowing full wonderful view to the stage.

    Grand Theatre in Bordeaux King Rat from the Nutcracker
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    Grand Theatre

    by arv1 Written Jul 9, 2007

    Though I didn't go inside Grand Theatre, I was very impressed with the little I saw. This is a huuuuuge building that is brilliant from whatever side you see it from! Looking at the intricate detail on each statue at the front of the building, you will truly be astounded by the amount of effort put into the construction of the building! The steps outside the entrance of the building are really inviting...so go and sit down when you visit it!

    Grand Theatre
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