Admit that when we talk about opera we sometimes think: it’s too expensive, it’s for “old people”, it’s too long and boring, you have to know it to appreciate it… Well no: the Opéra-Comique is dusting off the genre and clearly saying stop to prejudices with its new 2023-2024 season!
Who is the Opéra-Comique for? What is the program for the 2023-2024 season? How much does a show at the Opéra-Comique cost?… See this article for an overview!
What is the Opéra-Comique?
The Opéra-Comique is not only a theatre, it is also an artistic genre which consists in interspersing sung works with spoken dialogues, as opposed to opera which is entirely sung. And that is all! Because contrary to what its name might suggest, comic opera is not necessarily funny or happy: it can deal with fictitious or historical subjects, sad or amusing, current or ancient…
Stop the prejudices about comic opera!
Is opera an elitist art?
To all those who think that opera is an art reserved for an elderly, rich and well-informed public, dressed in long dresses and three-piece suits… Good news, this time is over! Today, many opera houses have evolved to be accessible to all, offering prices adapted to all pockets and a rich and eclectic program to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
But do you have to know anything about opera to attend a show?
The answer is no! You just have to sit in one of the comfortable red seats of the Opéra-Comique to be transported by the stories that unfold before your eyes, the superb scenery, the songs, the orchestras… The opportunity to (re)discover illustrious names such as Ravel, Stravinsky, Lully or Offenbach through their revisited works.
It’s expensive and reserved for well-filled wallets
In the collective imagination, an opera house is inevitably populated by white hairs. However, nowadays, many shows want to attract a large audience, including students and young professionals.
For this reason, the Opéra-Comique is keen to highlight young artistic creation, notably with its Académie and its Maîtrise Populaire. Creations such as Archipel(s), a lyrical fiction performed by children, appeal to both young and adult audiences. In addition, the Opéra-Comique offers a rich and eclectic program with great titles created between 1686 and 2024… Enough to delight both nostalgic and “contemporary” audiences!
Tip: take advantage of the Opéra-Comique’s low prices
The Opéra-Comique makes its shows accessible to all, with prices ranging from 6 to 165€. (The price of a beer, a restaurant or a ticket to the Stade de France!)
Note that throughout the year, the Opéra-Comique offers tickets at 35% off for all operas if you are between 18 and 35 years old. Reduced rates are also available for job seekers, RSA beneficiaries, disabled persons, families, school groups and communities. It also offers passes and subscriptions with many exclusive advantages such as the mezzo subscription which allows you to obtain a 15% discount for four selected operas or the tutti subscription which allows you to benefit from a 20% discount for six selected operas. What a way to treat yourself without breaking the bank!
Opera is too long!
We all remember the hilarious scene in Intouchables where Driss (Omar Sy) and Philippe (François Cluzet) laugh at the arrival on stage of a singer dressed in a grotesque outfit: “It’s a tree that sings in German!” Driss then quickly loses his smile when he learns that the show lasts four hours. So cliché or reality?
The length of the shows for the new season of the Opéra-Comique is between 1h20 and 3h with an intermission (time to stretch the legs or take a short technical break) – in other words, the same length as a good movie!
The Opéra-Comique: a theater with a long history
Take advantage of your visit to the Opéra-Comique to admire the superb Salle Favart, a spectacle in itself with its gilding, woodwork, sculptures and velvet seats. But if the Opéra-Comique shines today and proudly displays itself as one of the oldest theatrical institutions in France, its history has not always been easy and the “Comique” has sometimes had to fight to make a place for itself. Discover the history of this Parisian cultural center:
Opera is boring!
In my opinion, opera has all the ingredients for a magical time: stories of forbidden love, revenge with Cornelian dilemmas, societal issues, but also humor, breathtaking scenery and dance. Above all, the shows have voices that grab you by the throat, choirs that give you chills, an orchestra that moves you… Couldn’t we consider opera as one of the most accomplished art forms?
And then there is the magic of live performance. Each performance is unique. We are always in the unknown – no editing or cutting possible, no screen to put distance with the audience. This makes the performance all the more intense and thrilling, immersing us entirely in the universe and the story of the characters.
The 2023-2024 program of the Opéra-Comique
If you still think that opera is boring, I invite you to take a look at the 2023-2024 program of the Opéra-Comique. Let yourself be tempted by the spellbinding charm of Armide, the Syrian queen whose love story with a Christian knight is told in the eponymous opera, one of Lully’s most beautiful works.
You can also discover Macbeth Underworld and Fantasio, both directed by Thomas Jolly. This French theater prodigy with multiple awards has notably received the Molière for directing a Public Theater show for Henry VI in 2015. The classics of Offenbach and Shakespeare are revived and revisited in a contemporary style with breathtaking stagings, at once dark, zany and fantastic, sometimes reminiscent of Tim Burton’s universe.
All the shows will be accompanied by “pleiades” – derived shows, masterclasses, colloquia, nocturnes, concerts – in order to extend and enrich the content of the works on the bill.
A season not to be missed to rediscover opera with pleasure and to say goodbye to prejudices!
Clara et les sortilèges: a podcast to discover the Opéra-Comique
While waiting to come to the Opéra-Comique, start discovering this theater with the podcast “Clara et les sortilèges”. With five 10-minute episodes, follow Clara and Léo, two apprentice seamstresses whose needles will bring the theater’s costumes back to life. A fun podcast designed for both children and parents.
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Article produced in partnership with the Opéra-Comique