Production for rent: Les Éclairs

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Composer: Philippe Hersant

Libretto: Jean Echenoz 

adapted from his novel Des Eclairs (2010)



Category: Joyful drama in four acts

Language: French

Running times: 2h (without interval)

Premiered: November 2nd 2021, Opéra-Comique

Les Eclairs © Stefan Brion

Stage director: Clément Hervieu-Léger* • Set designer: Aurélie Maestre • Costume designer: Caroline de Vivaise • Lighting designer: Bertrand Couderc • Artistic collaborator: Frédérique Plain • Sound designer: Jean-Luc Ristord

*member of the Comédie-Française

Chrysoline Dupont

Director of Artistic Coordination, Production and Development

In a few words

A journey into the New York of the industrial revolution, with the extraordinary destiny of Nikola Tesla, driven by his revolutionary visions of electricity. The writer Jean Echenoz adapts his novel for the stage and Philippe Hersant signs his third opera, for this world premiere commissioned by the Opéra Comique.


“Thinking of the representations of 20th century America, I imagined a show in black and white, like old postcards or the first cinematographic films. This choice, which may seem more radical than it is, allows me to present electricity in a concrete way. It is electrical progress that allows colour to appear: a costume, an element of scenery, an object... The change in perception becomes a tangible sensation for the spectator.

Clément Hervieu-Léger, director

“What appealed to me in this booklet was the great variety of characters and situations. There is a lot going on and everything happens very quickly. […] I wanted to avoid pathos and keep Gregor's energy and creative joy in mind.”

Philippe Hersant, composer

Press review

"Les Eclairs releases a stream of poetry at the Opéra Comique. From the liner of hope to the sad disillusionment of a hotel landing, from the birds of the sea to the birds of the cities, the "joyful drama" Les Eclairs has, by its poetry and its unbearable lightness, a - deliciously - bittersweet taste... In three words (which would please Gregor), a superb achievement!”

ConSpirito, 6 novembre 2021, Jany Campello


“A magnificent evening in which one has throughout a feeling of dramatic and above all musical evidence, while questioning our society and its relationship with science.”

Musique classique & Co, 5 novembre 2021, Thierry Vagne 


“Announced by the lapping of the ocean that the Central European immigrant crossed on his way to the United States, Clément Hervieu-Léger's wise show, a member of the Comédie-Française, is anchored in the America of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, which was the America of the scientist, of his rise and his fall: Everything shows it, from Caroline de Vivaise's costumes to Aurélie Maestre's sets (machines, skyscrapers) poetically lit by Bertrand Couderc, in finely chained scenes.”

Diapason, 05 November 2021, Benoît Fauchet



Number of Principals: 6 + 7 members of the choir
Chorus / parts (S/A/T/B) : 32 (6/6/6/6) 
Extras : 2


2 [1.2/Pic].2 [1.2/CA].2.2 [1.2/CBn] - - [Synt] -

Volume of the production
Set and props 3 containers

Other info
Last performed : November 2021, Opéra-Comique
Coproduction : Greek National Opera
Revival in 2023 at Greek National Opera


Les Éclairs

Philippe Hersant and Jean Echenoz

November 02 to 08, 2021

Les Éclairs delves into the fate of the engineer Nikola Tesla – aka Gregor Tesla. Upon arriving in New York in 1884, Gregor was filled with revolutionary visions of electricity applications. But he was more interested in scientific discoveries than in profit-making. Manufacturers plundered and perverted his inventions, driving him to seek refuge in lightning shows and the company of birds.

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