First theatre at the Palais Royal

HistoryFirst theatre at the Palais Royal

History : First theatre at the Palais Royal

Built in 1641 by Cardinal Richelieu who lived at the Palais Royal, the theatre was used by Molière and his troupe from 1662 to 1673. 

When the celebrated dramatist died on February 17th 1673, Lully took over the prestigious auditorium and the remodelling work was overseen by Carlo Vigarani who drew inspiration from the design of Italian theatres: it had three levels of boxes, a sloping amphitheatre, and improved areas for the sets and equipment. The first performance was Alceste which took place on January 19 1674. 

In 1713, Louis XIV granted the Académie royale de Musique the privilege of organising masked balls. As a result, the theatre at the Palais Royal became the primary location for these events, with sometimes as many as three balls a week during Carnival season. A lifting system to raise the floor to the level of the stage was even invented. 

The first operas by Jean-Philippe Rameau were staged there along with Jean-Georges Noverre's first ballets. The Palais Royal also played host to the notorious performance of La Serva Padrona on August 2nd, 1752 which triggered the famous “Querelle des Bouffons”. 

On April 6th 1763, a fire broke out leaving two people dead and completely destroyed the building.

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