As seen from rue Favart or place Boieldieu, the music lover who has already been to the Opéra Comique to attend performances might think that the work is going slowly. Nothing spectacular from the outside. Yet, if you read our July 15th article on the progress of the modernization work, everything is turned upside down inside the theater.
A metamorphosis is underway: the orchestra flooring has been taken apart, some mosaics of the lobby have been removed so as to preserve famous Facchina's works, the seats have disappeared, the orchestra and circle hangings removed, and the acoustic chandelier completely dismantled. A number of lamps and wall lights have been detached and stored away, the mahogany doors of the boxes are now protected by wooden plates, and the curtains of the foyer, which were refurbished in 2012, have been placed in large ventilated crates for protection. The Salle Favart is preparing for the first pickaxe strokes, dust and flying fragments that could damage its treasures. So far, what strikes most is the great care taken to conserve and protect.
In the next few days, huge scaffolding is to be erected in the orchestra as ducts for the ventilation of the auditorium are to pass under the chandelier and in the walls.
Work is also to be performed soon in other parts of the theater. This is the case for the costume workshop under the roof of the building, one of the magical areas of the theater with an unobstructed view of Paris skyline, where a hole will be drilled to install a laboratory of natural dyeing and a props workshop. In 2008 and 2012 the Opéra Comique decided to bank on plant-based dyeing, enhancing the theater's traditional know-how and developing the artists' creativity and the originality of costumes.
By the end of September, the first lessons will be drawn from this preparation phase as regards both the details and the surprises, good and bad, of these exceptional works.