Théâtre des Tuileries

Last updated
Plan of the Tuileries Palace with the theatre marked in blue (1756) Theatre des Tuileries on a general plan - Blondel tome4 (1756) livre6 plate20 (detail, modified) - KU.jpg
Plan of the Tuileries Palace with the theatre marked in blue (1756)

The Théâtre des Tuileries was a theatre in the former Tuileries Palace in Paris. It was also known as the Salle des Machines, because of its elaborate stage machinery, designed by the Italian theatre architects Gaspare Vigarani and his two sons, Carlo and Lodovico. [1] Constructed in 1659–1661, it was originally intended for spectacular productions mounted by the court of the young Louis XIV, but in 1763 the theatre was greatly reduced in size and used in turn by the Paris Opera (up to 1770), the Comédie-Française (from 1770 to 1782), and the Théâtre de Monsieur (from January to December 1789). In 1808 Napoleon had a new theatre/ballroom built to the designs of the architects Percier and Fontaine. The Tuileries Palace and the theatre were destroyed by fire on 24 May 1871, during the Paris Commune.

Tuileries Palace royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine

The Tuileries Palace was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine. It was the usual Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon III, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871.

Stage machinery are the mechanical devices used to create special effects in theatrical productions.

Carlo Vigarani was an Italian scenic designer who worked as "ingénieur du roi" and then "intendant des plaisirs du roi" at the court of the French king Louis XIV until 1690. He was born in Reggio nell'Emilia and went to Paris with his father Gaspare Vigarani in 1659. He is best known for his design with his father and his brother Lodovico of the Salle des Machines at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. He returned to Paris in 1662, became a French citizen in 1673, and probably died in Paris.


Salle des Machines

The auditorium, designed and decorated by the architects Charles Errard, Louis Le Vau, and François d'Orbay, was housed in a pavilion located at the north end of the palace as originally built by the architect Philibert de l'Orme for Catherine de Médicis. [2] Estimates of its seating capacity range from 6,000 to 8,000. [3] The unusually deep stage was located in a gallery situated between the auditorium and a new, more northern pavilion, later designated as the Pavillon de Marsan  [ fr ]. [2]

Charles Errard French painter

Charles Errard the Younger was a French painter, architect and engraver, co-founder and director of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert delegated to him the foundation of the French Academy in Rome in 1666, and he was its founding director from then until 1684.

Louis Le Vau French architect

Louis Le Vau was a French Classical Baroque architect, who worked for Louis XIV of France. He was born and died in Paris.

François dOrbay French architect

François d'Orbay (1634–1697) was a French draughtsman and architect who worked closely with Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin Mansart.

The hall was inaugurated on 7 February 1662 with the premiere of Cavalli's Ercole amante . The costs of the project, including construction of the theatre, came to 120,000 livres , yet the opera was only performed eight times. [4] The theatre was not used again until January 1671, when Psyché , a scenically spectacular play with music and ballet, was presented. This production cost 130,000 livres and was only performed twice. [5] (Psyché was reduced in size and successfully revived at the smaller Théâtre du Palais-Royal in July.) [6] The Salle des Machines was not used again for musical theatre during the remainder of Louis XIV's reign. In 1720, during the Regency of Louis XV, the hall was remodeled again, at a cost of nearly 150,000 livres, and the court ballet Les folies de Cardenio with music by Michel Richard Delalande was given. The young King Louis XV made his first and last appearance in a dancing role in this production. After Cardenio there were no further productions, except for some marionette shows in the 1730s. [5] In view of the large expenditures on the theatre, it is surprising that it was so little used. Modern histories cite the poor acoustics, but Coeyman suggests that its disuse may have been the result of its large size: "the hall may have simply been too hard to fill." [7]

<i>Ercole amante</i> opera by Francesco Cavalli

Ercole amante is an opera in a prologue and five acts by Francesco Cavalli. The Italian libretto was by Francesco Buti, based on Sophocles' The Trachiniae and on the ninth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses. It was first performed on 7 February 1662 in Paris at the Salle des Machines in the Tuileries.

Psyché is a five-act, free verse tragicomédie et ballet, originally written as a prose text by Molière and versified in collaboration with Pierre Corneille and Philippe Quinault, with music composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The plot is based on the story of Cupid and Psyche in The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century by Apuleius. It was first performed on 17 January 1671 before the royal court of Louis XIV at the Théâtre des Tuileries, with ballets by Pierre Beauchamps, Anthoine des Brosses, and Nicolas Delorge, and spectacular scenery and special effects designed by Carlo Vigarani.

Théâtre du Palais-Royal (rue Saint-Honoré) Théâtre du Palais-Royal (1641-1781)

The Théâtre du Palais-Royal on the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris was a theatre in the east wing of the Palais-Royal, which opened on 14 January 1641 with a performance of Jean Desmarets' tragicomedy Mirame. The theatre was used by the troupe of Molière from 1660 to 1673 and as an opera house by the Académie Royale de Musique from 1673 to 1763, when it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1770, but again was destroyed by fire in 1781 and not rebuilt.

<i>Encyclopédie</i> general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, better known as Encyclopédie, was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It had many writers, known as the Encyclopédistes. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

Later incarnations

The theatre later underwent three substantial transformations: the first in 1763, when it was greatly reduced in size for the Paris Opera (to a capacity of 1,504 spectators) by the architects Jacques Soufflot and Jacques Gabriel; [8] the second begun in November 1792 and competed before 10 May 1793, when the National Convention moved from the Salle du Manege to the Salle des Machines; [9] and the third in 1808, when Napoleon had a new theatre built to the designs of the architects Percier and Fontaine. [10]

Paris Opera the primary opera company of France

The Paris Opera is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra, and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, but continued to be known more simply as the Opéra. Classical ballet as it is known today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra National de Paris, it mainly produces operas at its modern 2700-seat theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and some classical operas at the older 1970-seat Palais Garnier which opened in 1875. Small scale and contemporary works are also staged in the 500-seat Amphitheatre under the Opéra Bastille.

Jacques Gabriel French architect

Jacques Gabriel (1667–1742) was a French architect, the father of the famous Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Michelle Jacques Gabriel, is a designer, painter, architect and architect of the 17th and 18th centuries. He was one of the most prominent designers of the Versailless Palace in his lifetime. For his unique creativity and selflessness, he has always been attended by Louis XIV And eventually he became a trusted advisor to the king. He made important contributions to the king during his years of service, which is one of the most important works in the construction of the Versailles palace, which once served as the lobby of the fourteenth.

National Convention Single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.


  1. Coeyman 1998, pp. 45–46.
  2. 1 2 Wild 1989, p. 404.
  3. Coeyman 1998, p. 53. According to Wild 1989, p. 406, the number of places was 4,000 "d'ap. A. Donnet", but the latter author actually gives the capacity as 6,000 (Donnet 1821, p. 261).
  4. Coeyman 1998, pp. 46, 55.
  5. 1 2 Coeyman 1998, p. 47.
  6. Gaines 2002, pp. 394–395.
  7. Coeyman 1998, p. 53.
  8. Wild 2012, p. 406.
  9. Lenôtre 1895, p. 95; Babeau 1895, p. 61.
  10. Wild 1989, pp. 406–407.


Coordinates: 48°51′47″N2°19′55″E / 48.863086°N 2.331982°E / 48.863086; 2.331982

Related Research Articles

Opéra-Comique opera company in Paris

The Opéra-Comique is a Parisian opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart, is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public. Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.

Comédie-Italienne Italian-language theatre and opera performed in France

Comédie-Italienne or Théâtre-Italien are French names which have been used to refer to Italian-language theatre and opera when performed in France.

Giacomo Torelli Italian stage designer, engineer, and architect

Giacomo Torelli was an Italian stage designer, engineer, and architect. His work in stage design, particularly his designs of machinery for creating spectacular scenery changes and other special effects, was extensively engraved and hence survives as the most complete record of mid-seventeenth-century set design.

Royal Opera of Versailles Opera house of the Palace of Versailles, France

The Royal Opera of Versailles is the main theatre and opera house of the Palace of Versailles. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, it is also known as the Théâtre Gabriel. The interior decoration by Augustin Pajou is constructed almost entirely of wood, painted to resemble marble in a technique known as faux marble. The excellent acoustics of the opera house are at least partly due to its wooden interior.

Théâtre Feydeau former theater company in Paris

The Théâtre Feydeau, a former Parisian theatre company, was founded in 1789 with the patronage of Monsieur, Comte de Provence, and was therefore initially named the Théâtre de Monsieur. It began performing in the Salle des Tuileries, located in the north wing of the Tuileries Palace, then moved to the Salle des Variétés at the Foire Saint-Germain, and finally, beginning in 1791, settled into its own custom-built theatre, the Salle Feydeau located on the rue Feydeau. The company was renamed Feydeau after the royal family was arrested during the French Revolution.

Salle Favart Theatre of the Opéra-Comique

The Salle Favart, officially the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique, is a Parisian opera house and theatre, the current home of the Opéra-Comique. It was built from 1893 to 1898 in a neo-Baroque style to the designs of the French architect Louis Bernier and is located on the Place Boïeldieu just south of the Boulevard des Italiens.

Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi

The Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi was a Parisian theatre located across from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on the rue de la Loi, which was the name of the rue de Richelieu from 1793 to 1806. The theatre was built by the actress and theatre manageress Mademoiselle Montansier, and opened on 15 August 1793. It was designed by the architect Victor Louis and had a capacity of 2,300 spectators. The theatre was demolished in 1820, and its former site is now the Square Louvois.

Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique may refer to the opera company commonly known as the Paris Opera or to one of several different theatres used during periods when the company was officially named the Académie Royale de Musique:

Salle de la Bourse former theatre in Paris, France

The Salle de la Bourse was a Parisian theatre located on the rue Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement, across from the Paris Bourse, hence the name. It was successively the home of the Théâtre des Nouveautés (1827–1832), the Opéra-Comique (1832–1840), and the Théâtre du Vaudeville (1840–1869). The theatre was demolished in 1869.

François Debret French architect and Freemason

François Debret was a 19th-century French architect and Freemason. He was one of a group of influential academic architects in the 1820s and 1830s that furthered the precepts of Percier and Fontaine, although little of his own work survives.

Salle Richelieu theatre building in Paris, France

The Salle Richelieu is the principal theatre of the Comédie-Française. It is located in the Palais-Royal in the first arrondissement of Paris and was originally constructed in 1786–1790 to the designs of the architect Victor Louis. It seats 862 spectators.

Léonard Autié coiffeur, theatre entrepreneur

Léonard-Alexis Autié, also Autier, often referred to simply as Monsieur Léonard, was the favourite hairdresser of Queen Marie Antoinette and in 1788–1789 founded the Théâtre de Monsieur, "the first resident theatre in France to produce a year-round repertory of Italian opera."

Théâtre Louvois

The Théâtre Louvois or Salle Louvois was a theatre located at what is today 8 rue de Louvois in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. Inaugurated in 1791 and closed in 1825, it was used by the Théâtre-Italien from 20 March 1819 to 8 November 1825. Gioachino Rossini became Director of Music on 1 December 1824.

Théâtre de la Cité-Variétés former theatre in Paris

The Théâtre de la Cité-Variétés, also known simply as the Théâtre de la Cité, was an entertainment venue now demolished, located in the former rue Saint-Barthélemy, now the Boulevard du Palais, on the Île de la Cité in the modern 4th arrondissement of Paris. The theatre had a capacity of 1,800–2,000 spectators.

Salle du Bel-Air second theatre of the Paris Opera, 1672–1673

The Salle du Bel-Air or Salle du Jeu de Paume de Béquet, also spelled Becquet, was a 1672 theatre located in Paris, France. Originally an indoor tennis court it was converted by the Italian designer Carlo Vigarani into a theatre which was used by Jean-Baptiste Lully's Paris Opera from 15 November 1672 to 1 February 1673. It was located in the Rue de Vaugirard, just west of the city moat (fossé) and the Rue des Fossés Monsieur-le-Prince. Today the site of the former theatre extends into the Rue de Médicis, just south of no. 15 Rue de Vaugirard.

Salle de la rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés theatre of the Comédie-Française, 1689–1770

The Salle de la rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the theatre of the Comédie-Française from 1689 to 1770. It was built to the designs of the French architect François d'Orbay on the site of a former indoor tennis court, located at 14 rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés, now 14 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, across from the Café Procope in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.