Plan carefully what you want to see and when: opening nights tend to be pricey, while other tickets can be a snip.
The Opéra de Nice was built in 1885, on the site of a theatre that had stood on the site for over a century: a gas explosion during the opening night of Lucia de Lammermoor in 1881 caused a huge fire, destroying the whole previous building and causing the deaths of three singers.
The new theatre was designed by François Aune, a student of Gustave Eiffel, and opened with a performance of Verdi’s Aida on 7 February 1885.
The interior is a cosmopolitan mix of Niçois tradition and Francophilia with Italianate style, including a ceiling fresco depicting the Chariot of the Sun and sculptures of the Muses (music, tragedy, comedy and dance). There is also a magnificent 600-bulb chandelier.
The Opéra was declared a historical monument in 1993. The stage and orchestra pit have both been modernised since its construction, but many original features have been carefully preserved or restored; today it still seats 1,093 spectators for a varied programme of operas, ballets and classical concerts, and is the home of the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra. Don’t miss a show if you’re in town!
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