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The Opéra Comique and its Treasures

From February 7 to September 6, 2015

The Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie is celebrating the tricentennial of the Opéra Comique in 2015 with the presentation of over a hundred of its most beautiful costumes in the exhibition The Opéra Comique and its Treasures. The Opéra Comique is coming to Moulins, birthplace of Antoine Dauvergne, one of its first composers, to recount its turbulent history, bring the performing arts to life, and present some of the masterpieces of its repertoire.

In this exhibition, the CNCS will unveil some of its oldest costumes, some of which have never yet been shown to the public, and to balance this, the Opéra Comique will present the know-how of its workshops and the most brilliant productions of its recent seasons, directed since 2007 by Jérome Deschamps. Eclecticism, abundance, fantasy and the search for truth characterize this three-hundred-year-old art of the costume, base of the magic of operatic theater.

Visitors will encounter various characters and performers connected to the Opéra Comique during a historical and thematic journey through fourteen exhibition rooms. More than one hundred costumes will be presented in settings evoking the spirit of different productions and the beauty of the Salle Favart, with the help of accessories, set elements, archives, videos and news reports.

The passionate history of French lyric art, rich in masterpieces and innovation, but also in drama, catastrophes and colorful, racy episodes will be on display, from the beginnings of this institution in the fairgrounds at the end of the reign of Louis XIV to the spectacular productions of the past few years, with stops along the way to revisit Carmen by Bizet and The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach, among other major works.

The Opéra Comique

The Opéra Comique was opened in February 1715, and is one of the three oldest theater institutions in France, along with the Opéra and the Comédie-Française. Its tricentennial is on the calendar of National Commemorations, and will be celebrated with many exhibitions, performances, publications, conferences and online events. The exhibition at the CNCS is an occasion to highlight the fact that for more than two hundred years the repertoire of the Opéra Comique was that which was the most frequently performed in the provinces, the most open to regional cultures, and the most welcoming to French-trained artists.

The Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie

Opened in July, 2006 in Moulins in Auvergne, the CNCS, first conservation museum devoted to costumes and stage sets, has become a not-to-be-missed place to visit for all lovers of the performing arts. The costumes from the Opéra national de Paris, the Comédie-Française and numerous other theaters and French theater companies arrive here after their final performance to being a second life, during which they will never again be worn, but are conserved, studied and exhibited.
Visitors to the CNCS are thus invited backstage in the greatest theater and opera houses, where the productions are prepared.