One glance is enough. The photographs offered here show to those who have attended some of our productions – and are thereby familiar with the state of our house or at least its public spaces – that something happened this summer. They were taken on 24 August 2016 and reveal that restoration work has entered a new phase. No need to have a PhD in dialectics to understand that quantity (measured in tons of metal pipes, chipboard panels, plastic covers, decibels, rubble, hundreds of meters of conduits…) has turned into quality.
A bas-relief on a pristine wall of the lobby that used to go unnoticed and which is now manifest for all to see, new colors, particularly the gildings, brand new machines under the roofing that will soon cool the auditorium, workers who devote themselves to the finishing off… a feeling of renewal. The same feeling left by our childhood new notebooks and pencil wallets just bought from the store for each new school year and the promise of new classmates and teachers transformed these daily objects into exploration tools. This is not to say that the renovation work is drawing to a close but it’s evident that completion is approaching: a trim and better ventilated auditorium, new public spaces with better comfort for all our audiences, nicer and more spacious rooms for the artistic and technical teams.
On looking at these photographs, someone who has never been to the Salle Favart would guess that a chrysalis is tearing apart, unveiling a theater in evolution. In the lobby, Manon and her old pal Carmen are still enclosed in their coating of wood and plastic, some exposed parts of the orchestra and banisters are still protected in their boxing, the seats have not yet reappeared, dirt and dust continue to whirl but the whole place will soon reveal itself to the public gaze.
The most important thing will be the ventilation and the very first photos of the machinery shown here announce (at last) cooler evenings although passion will still be there. On looking at the details, our regular patrons will be surprised by the scale of restoration, especially the shine. Here again, one glance is enough. The colors are more vivid and everything sparkles. Lightness prevails in the spots involved in the work. New paints are to be applied. Hangings, carpeting and earthenware tiles have not yet been laid. The house will be embellished. Some grumps will find flaws. Those nostalgic for the past will regret the theater’s patina. However, something indefinable but visible occurred. Favart got back its colors.
Pictures © Opéra Comique - Stefan Brion