The theater that we enjoy today was born from a part of an older, Eden Theatre. Inaugurated on January 17, 1883, this building is named after which he was director from 1934 to 1951, Louis Jouvet today. The original building was built by William Klein and Albert Duclos in an Art Nouveau style of oriental inspiration. Eden theater was chosen for the premiere in Paris of the work of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin April 30, 1887.
Between 1890 and 1893 the theater was named Grand Théâtre and had 4,000 locations. This was partially demolished in 1893. After that architects Stanislas Loison in 1893 and then Paul Fouquiau, in 1894, they fitted out a hall for 570 people in the foyer of the old theater. While the demolition of the old theater Éden continued its process so that the authorities thought of closing the new room by fire or accident. However the room managed to keep open by reducing the danger involved the creation of a temporary corridor, twelve meters long between theater and demolition sites, which flowed into the street Boudreau. At the end of the works of demolition of the old building and the construction of the new room as a result of these changes, the building was renamed the Théâtre de la Comédie Parisienne, after the local store that had closed ten years before opening its doors on December 31, 1894. It was in this space that the work of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, originally written in French, February 11, 1896, with a staging signed by the theater group Lugné-Poe was released.
The theater was renamed the Theatre Athénée in 1896, as indicated on its facade. For forty years he was the only establishment to vaudeville shows, comedies and melodramas.
However, it was not until the Thirties that the theater reached its period of maximum splendor. It came from the hand of director Louis Jouvet (1934-1951), recreating in this place most of the work of Jean Giraudoux, starting with Tessa the November 14, 1934, and Corneille and Molière classics such as L’école des femmes, which Jouvet played the role of Arnolphe.
Jouvet had as partners the painter Christian Berard and Pierre Renoir, who assumed the position of artistic director and had worked as an actor under his command.
After the death of Pierre Renoir Jouvet who would take care of the theater management in 1951. After him came Grammont directors and Françoise Françoise Spira in 1962.
Another important era in the history of this theater came from the hand of director Pierre Bergé, who between 1977 and 1981 entered the small room, called Christian Berard, spaces for theater performances, besides contributing to this great voices of the time with Lundis Musicaux series. He also produced works with Antoine Vitez, Jean Marais, Pierre Dux, Delphine Seyrig, Peter Brook, Jean Vilar, Claude Régy, Matthias Langhoff, Pierre Brasseur, Maria Casares and Jeanne Moreau, some of the same authors.
In 1982 Pierre Bergé sold the theater to the State for the symbolic amount of one euro. With the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication Josyane Horville he took center address. After that Patrice Martinet, founder of the summer festival, directed it from 1993.
In 1995 Athénée-Louis Jouvet theater was declared a national historic monument in 1996 and became a renewal of their joint initiative of Patrice Martinet leveraging the centenary of the new theater. This work is focused not only on the restoration of architecture and decoration but also in modernizing the facilities to carry out performances in the best possible conditions and lead to building the XXI century. Work included:
- The restoration of the facade, including restitution and the original layout of its elements as a balcony of the first stage of building.
- Improving the security and control of public access. Also facilities.
- The total reconstruction of the scene box.
- The restoration in the great room and corridors decoration and coatings, and restitution in the great hall of pre-existing elements in lighting, in bathrooms and in the orchestra pit.
At the beginning of XXI century the Theatre Athénée has recreated works of opera, musical and comedy as Le docteur Ox (2003), Ta Bouche (2004), Toi c’est moi (2005) and Banquier Arsène Lupin (2007).
The Athénée theater is located at number seven Boudreau Street in the ninth district of the city of Paris, France. The building overlooks the Square de l’Opera Luois-Jouvet, which owes its name to that was the theater director between 1934 and 1951. In the vicinity of other iconic buildings are Paris as the Opera Garnier, warehouses Printemps or Galeries Lafayette. The nearest underground stations are Havre-Caumartin, Opera and Madeleine.
The new theater shows changes in the design of performance spaces that occurs in the late nineteenth century. Faced with the large establishments of imperial times of the century, with the demolition of Eden theater gives way to creating an atmosphere of smaller dimensions. Also, the corridor created initially to separate the new room the scope of demolition of the above, to create a transitional space between the exterior and interior public space is used. In this way a gradient of environments is achieved from the bustle of the main street, the gathering place, to move to the foyer of the theater itself and finally to the room where the show takes place. This decrease in the gap size is also given in this ornamentation. Orientalism fashionable early nineteenth century France, emerged from Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt, among other things, leads to a classicism, more austere in the theater entrance spaces, which however reveals all its splendor in the great room.
The original theater was a large building described at the time as “prodigy of originality, of magnificence and comfort.” It was characterized by a style blend of Hindu temple and bazaar of the Arabian Nights, totally exotic. Its facade was symmetrical. This consisted of three floors among which was the first and the master with large central balcony. The ends of the facade towers were topped by richly decorated Hindu inspiration. The windows were characterized by lobed arches located within rectangular frames. The central part of the facade was crowned by a set of windows as recharged in decoration as the towers of the ends.
Inside the main hall of the theater not far behind in terms of ornamentation. Lobed arches Arabic air also accompanied here exotic columns and defining the top of the room. Also, the stage was set for rounded and concave shapes like arches. A balustrade ran upstairs. The decor throughout the room had sculptures depicting exotic both human and animal figures. Eden theater had a dome in the main hall which was decorated with Indian motifs in red, black and brown. Finally lamp hanging from the center also showed an extravagant design that looked like something out of a trip east.
Following the transformations of the nineties of the nineteenth century, the theater closed but not disappeared. The new theater was smaller and more intimate. Faced with the grandeur of Eden Theatre, this new room had the attraction of proximity and Avenia more with the manners and fashion of the late nineteenth century. In 1896 he became the last transformation of the new theater, placing the entrance hall at Square de l’Opéra, this thus becoming the first theater lobby. With this role, Street Square de l’Opéra people away from the bustle of the main street and introduced in the cozy and intimate new representations living room.
The facade of the new building shows its name in an inscription on the window of the first floor. The entrance is framed by a canopy of iron and crystal welcomes visitors. It has two iron gates that are accompanied by signs of representations that take place inside. The facade is quite sober as a whole, except for some stone decor on the ground floor and columns that accompany the next two floors. Both the first and second floor have large windows. These include the main floor to be made of wood, unlike the rest of the facade. It has a curvy and modernist forms with a symmetrical composition in its center topped by the face of an angel and a flower garland.
From the lobby at street level, visitors can go to the inputs of audience or to the stairs leading to the different floors of the building. The first floor lobby is distinguished by its yellow color that pervades all space classic style. The reception is accompanied by a set of tables to accommodate attendees to the start of each performance. This space is decorated with mirrors and has a double height, to which one can look out from the upper gallery. From here are the various gateways to the great room. In the curved corridors that cross the perimeter of the room it is also available to the cloakroom attendants.
The great hall of the theater shines with its golden color which highlights garnet seats. The 570 seats are distributed among the stalls and boxes, two-story amphitheater and paradise. The interior is richly decorated with greenery and garlands details modernist besides female figures. The roof consists of a painted sky pierced by nine gilded ornamental rays radiating from the large central chandelier. The scene is defined by an ornate frame in the center is a shield with the initial accompanied by two angels and roses.
Photos WikiArquitectura (Diciembre 2015)
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