Opéra de Lille

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, France, Nord

The Opéra de Lille is a theater-style neo-classical opera house, built from 1907 to 1913 and officially inaugurated in 1923. In 1903 fire destroyed the previous Lille opera house, which had been designed by Lille architect Michael Joseph Lequeux and built in 1785. For the replacement city officials chose architect Louis Marie Cordonnier by competition. Cordonnier's Belle Époque design features an elaborate pediment relief by sculptor Hippolyte Lefèbvre, and two flanking bas-relief panels Alphonse-Amédée Cordonnier and Hector Lemaire. The interior includes work by sculptor Edgar-Henri Boutry. In July 1914, while not quite completed, the Germans occupied Lille during World War I and commandeered much of the furniture and equipment of the Opéra to furnish the other opera in Lille, the Theatre Sebastopol. After four years of occupation, the building was restored and opened its doors again in 1923 for a rededication as the Grand Theater and a "première française". In 1998 the theater's physical condition required an emergency closure, in mid-season. Renovations evolved into a more ambitious project to improve the building's functional capabilities for the public and for performing artists. This project was complete in time for Lille's year as European Capital of Culture in 2004.