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Destinations · Europe · france · Paris · Museums and galleries · Theatres

Comédie-Francaise

Author: Margarita Zieda0 COMMENTS

Comédie-Francaise

This building is home to history and refined culture of the theatrical spoken word. In 1680, the Sun King Louis XIV merged Molière's theatre company with a number of others, giving the new ensemble the name of Comédie-Française. Thus the oldest national theatre in Europe was born. The most important artistic and economical decisions are made by the actors at Comédie-Française, a right granted by Napoleon's decree; this model of self-government, introduced in 1808, is till valid.
It was in 1799, following the French revolution, that the company moved to its current home, a building designed by the architect Victor Louis, bringing all of its most precious relics with them. These treasures include the chair in which Molière suffered a lethal heart attack in 1673, during a performance of Le Malade Imaginaire; set in the theatre lobby, it is one of the symbols of Comédie-Française, signifying Molière's spiritual presence in the building which, although often referred to as La Maison de Molière, never saw the great playwright during his lifetime. All passages and galleries at Comédie-Française are lined with busts of the famous predecessors. In 1900, a fire started at the theatre, followed by extensive renovation.
The repertoire of Comédie-Française comprises mostly classical works, featuring first and foremost the 'high classics' of French theatre: plays by Molière, Corneille, Racine, Marivaux. This is where French classics sound exactly the way they should - according to the French public. In recent years, however, even this fortress of tradition has been touched by modernisation - both regarding the repertoire (which now also includes texts by modern authors) and directing (the theatre has opened its doors to directors with diverse artistic styles).
Under the name of Comédie-Française, theatre is actually performed in three different venues: the Richelieu-Saal set in Place Colette, Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier and Studio-Théâtre. Comédie-Française is neighboured by Palais Royal, home to the French Ministry of Culture, and Jardin du Palais-Royal (the Royal Palace Gardens) featuring Daniel Buren's Columns.

Place Colette

www.comedie-francaise.fr


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