Petit Futé's opinion on VICHY OPERA
It is the work of the architect Charles Le Coeur, assisted by Lucien Woog, a Belgian architect, inaugurated in 1903. Its decorative style is unique, dedicated to floral delights. The front of the stage is decorated with two white peacocks, protecting two harps and framing the dates 1864 and 1901, dominated by the mask of the tragedy. This highly original decoration is the work of the Parisian painter and decorator Léon Rudnicki. The main façade of the Opera House overlooks the Parc des Sources, preceded by a majestic staircase, and flanked by two forebodies crowned by curvilinear pediments, in which a barometer on one side and a clock on the other are inscribed, supported by chubby bears. The three large French windows are decorated with flowered grills, forged by Emile Robert, as are all the balustrades and railings of the building. The hall can accommodate more than 1,400 spectators, designed as a shell, without any pillars in the way of the spectators, thanks to a metal framework supporting the roof and the walls. Its decoration is remarkable for its patterns and its ivory and gold colours. It is the joint work of Pierre Seguin for the sculpted ornaments, and the painter-decorator Léon Rudnicki. The latter conceived a unique decorative style dedicated to oral delights, volubilis, roses and daisies blooming in beautiful harmony. No ostentatious luxury, but a monumental dome, equipped with a hundred bulbs and a ventilation system hidden in the series of lyres. It is encircled by roses, and the pendants bear portraits of the celebrities of the time: Sarah Bernhardt, Réjane, Cléo de Mérode... The dressing rooms are in the front of the stage and the whole is covered in golden yellow velvet. In July 1940, the government moved to Vichy. The Opéra hall was the scene of the vote of full powers to Marshal Pétain by the deputies and senators, with the exception of 80 of them who were opposed to it. A plaque commemorating this act of resistance is now affixed to the entrance of the Opera House. In 1987, the City acquired the Grand Casino and the Opera-Theatre and undertook, with the help of the State and the Department, major restoration work, under the guidance of the historical monuments, in order to create a congress centre in the Grand Casino of Charles Badger, and to restore, identically, the Opera while modernising the technique. Since 1995, the Opera House has been restored to its former glory. A rich collection of documents traces the life of the Opera House. It is accessible at the Vichy Opera Museum.
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Opening time and information on VICHY OPERA
Open all year round. Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Guided tour.
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