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a French musical theater. Founded in Paris in 1715 as a temporary theater at the St. Germain Fair, it was closed in 1745 and reopened in 1752. In 1762 it merged with the Comédie Italienne theater. It continued its existence under various names, and in 1801, after uniting with the Feydeau Theater, it was again called the Opéra Comique.
At first it staged farces, comedies, vaudevilles, and musical plays; during the French Revolution, it presented the “rescue operas” of such composers as L. Cherubini, J. F. Lesueur, and A. E. Grétry.
The Opéra Comique became a state theater in 1806, and in the 19th century it was an important center for national opera. Among the operas it premiered were Bizet’s Carmen (1875), Delibes’ Lakmé (1883), and Massenet’s Manon (1884); it also staged operas by G. Puccini, R. Strauss, M. Ravel, J. Ibert, D. Milhaud, and A. Roussel.
After World War II, the Opéra Comique staged the works of F. Poulenc, I. Stravinsky, and other modern composers. The theater has staged ballets since the early 20th century. In 1973 it began to serve as an opera studio for young singers, conductors, and stage directors. The present building of the Opéra Comique, built in 1898, was designed by the architect S.-L. Bernier.
REFERENCEWolff, S. Un Demi-siècle d’Opéra Comique (1910–1950), vol. 2. Paris, 1953.
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