9.6.11

What used to be a lyrical theatre

As you may have seen in a previous post about Rue Saint Denis, there are a lot of passages, galleries. I we take a walk through the Passage de Ponceau, which has been there since 1826…
… we will arrive on Square Emile Chautemps, and if we cross this square, we will arrive at “Arts et Metiers”, on which I also already posted concerning its museum. In a future post I will talk about the other parts of what used to be the Saint Martin in the Fields (Saint Martin des Champs) Abbey.

Today, let’s make a stop at the Square Emile Chautemps, named after a 19th century politician. It’s a very nice and calm square, planned and decorated by Messrs. Alphand and Davioud, as so many other parks, squares and monuments in Paris, created during the 18th century Haussmannian period. There are some nice playgrounds for as well kids as elderly people. There is a monument to celebrate some victories during the Crimean War (1853-56).
Behind the leaves, we can discover a theatre, Théatre de la Gaîté. It dates from around 1870. Jacques Offenbach directed the theatre for a couple of years and several of his works premiered here. The concert hall had some 1500 seats.


The interior was to a large extent destroyed during the latter part of the 20th century and some unfortunate efforts to transform it to some kind of “Magic Planet” were soon abandoned. Recently, the City of Paris decided to transform the theatre to a centre for digital art and contemporary music. It was opened in March this year.

As you can see, the interior looks today quite different from the lyrical 18th century theatre it used to be.
One thing has more or less been saved as it once was - the foyer, the lobby.
Before taking the direction of “Art et Metiers”, maybe a word about the little statue of Marc Seguin, who constructed a first European suspension bridge, later administered some 186 toll bridges all over France… and especially designed steam locomotives. He helped George and Robert Stephenson by a multi-tube boiler of his invention - which increased locomotive speed by some seven times – to, with “the Rocket”, win the famous speed contest “Rainhall Trials” in 1829 with a top speed of 30 miles (48 km) / h.

19 comments:

Julie said...

A Frenchman at the Proms, no less! Is that smashing looking chick Annie Sofie Van Otto? Great fun ... shame about the internals though ... to my eye at lease.

M. Seguin would not be popular nowadays with his 186 toll bridges.

Peter said...

Yes, it's Anne Sofie von Otter.

Virginia said...

One day....one day.... I"m coming to Paris and just doing a Peter's Paris blog tour! You're in charge of remembering all the places. Put this one on the list.
So much to see, so little time. le sigh,
V

Starman said...

Nous serons pas loin de ce lieu. Rue Saint-Claude.

Pierre BOYER said...

Très intéressant, encore une fois !
Belle journée Peter...

Pierre

Olivier said...

en un post, on peut voir un superbe patchwork architecturale, superbe

claude said...

Pourquoi avoir modernisé l'intérieur de ce théâtre qui devait être super beau.
Jacques Offenbach doit se retourner dans sa tombe.
J'aime bien sa musique, c'est enlevé et réjouissant au possible.

hpy said...

Je réitère ce que viens de dire Claude.

Emille said...

Sometimes miss the passages in W. Eur. - a mall is still different! Great pics:)
Oh, I see you're on networked blogs -look me up sometime -there I go by the name Jesh St Germain:)

Adam said...

I still haven't visited the renovated Gaité Lyrique, but I must say I quite like the look of what they have done. If it is popular and used by a new generation, then all the better.

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful! I need to visit there!
:)
Léia

Thérèse said...

Encore une bien belle description et une bien belle visite par blog interposé.

Catherine said...

wow the beauty and hidden alleys and corners of Paris seem inexhaustible!! greetings from Mexico....

ParisBreakfasts said...

Paris is looking so...
Parisian!
So Springie and lush..
Maim!

Maria O. Russell said...

Why would anyone think of destroying the interior of such a marvel?

I totally agree with Mme. Claude about M. Offenbach turning in his grave!

At least we can still listen to his music anytime we want to.

Your photos are fantastic, Peter. Thank you so much!

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! With the long weekend here in Lisbon (four days off and three anniversaries nearby...), I finally manage to stroll around Blogosphere...
This is a section of Paris I'm not so familiar with. But it looks quite interesting in your pictures...

Trotter said...

Fabulous Offenbach!!

Vagabonde said...

I know we have to move with the times but I am pleased that they kept the foyer and the lobby. Here in the US there was a beautiful mansion which was in Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and they destroyed the whole historical building to make place for MacMansions.
I tried to copy a piece of a map as you usually do on your posts and I could not do it, copy that is. I was trying to show the distance from my home to the station, but never found a way to copy the map.

Peter (the other) said...

Paris may be the only city on earth that would deign spend money on "a centre for digital art and contemporary music". Digital graphics are seen by so many as strictly a commercial creation, it is brave to call that which is made in a tiny silicon factory "art". As for "contemporary" music, as if this months Britney Spears might play there... I am sorry but the term is most often used in an ugly, excluding way, meaning "contemporary music" of the academic, sad leftover runt of the western orchestral tradition.*

"Contemporary music", another way to say "anything BUT popular music". Although I can understand dedicating a certain facility to a certain type of music (although as paid for by all tax-payers, perhaps, undemocratic at best, and a theft from the people at worst) the name itself, "contemporary music", implies all the other musics created by the people are not music. Sorry to "go off" on your, as always, beautiful post. It is a more then slight peeve of mine leftover from the 60s-70s when people asked me if I liked music and I responding enthusiastically about jazz, would get a look of disgust across their faces and a "no, I mean good music", of course meaning not made by those colored sub-humans who only go bang-bang-bang on their drums (yes, Boston, MA was still that racist then).

Or it could just be my deep, secret love of the Barcarolle rising up in indignation (I like that which is still disparaged as "light classical", well, except the TacoBell etc.). But then 'm not opinionated ;-P

*considered best when "composed" by great white men (privately, mysteriously in a room, onto tablets as only God directs - regular Joseph Smiths) who then stand menacingly masterful over the serfs (you are not a great anything without serfs), waving a sharp ivory stick at them (I did this to an elephant, I can do it to you). We have learned to pretend, to display deep humility, preaching of tolerance in every interview, all an understood charade. Machines are sometimes considered valid virtual-serfs too. Women composers, soloists? The dear little things, we love them, bring 'em on... can they show a little more skin? It sells tickets.