• Opéra National de Lyon, © Opéra de Lyon
  • Opéra National de Lyon, © Opéra de Lyon
  • Opéra National de Lyon, © Opéra de Lyon

Opera de Lyon

Lyon, France

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Lyon Opera House displays a remarkable combination of old and new. Its atypical structure and eclectic programme award it with a prominent place in French culture.

Located in the city centre, the Lyon Opera House, sometimes given the nickname Opéra Nouvel (Nouvel Opera) after the name of its architect, has a surprising mix of neoclassical and modern styles. The combination of 19th century facades and semi‐cylindrical glass roofs, dating back to the late 20th century, give it an original look unique in its genre. Inside, there is an auditorium and a modern amphitheatre, which welcome an eclectic programme of ballets, operas and other concerts each year.

The Lyon Opera House is the result of a competition launched in 1986. Initially, the winner would renovate le théâtre Chenavard et Pollet (the Chenavard and Pollet Theatre), built in 1831. It was Jean Nouvel, a French architect now renowned for his designs such as l'Institut du monde arabe (the Arab World Institute) and le Musée du Quai Branly de Paris (the Quai Branly Museum), who won the competition. Seven years later, in 1993, the opera house was unveiled. All that was left of the old building were the four original walls and the public foyer.

The Lyon Opera House stands on eighteen levels, including five in the basement and six in the glass roof. On six levels, the building houses a horseshoe‐shaped auditorium, with a capacity of 1,100 seats, which has one unique feature: it is suspended by a network of metal beams. Isolated from vibrations from the underground and noise from outside traffic, the auditorium offers the audience excellent acoustics.


Opera de Lyon, 1 Place de la Comédie, 69001 Lyon, France, Google Maps


Elevator: Yes

Handicap toilet: Yes

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