A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Opéra Comique, The

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OPÉRA COMIQUE, THE, at Paris, a theatre for French pieces with spoken dialogue, originated in the 'spectacles de la Foire.' For its early history we refer the readers to Chouquet's 'History of Dramatic Music in France' (Paris, Didot, 1873), and will only state that the title of 'Opéra comique' dates from the execution of an agreement between the comedians and the directors of the Académie royale de Musique in 1715. The new enterprise, thus recognised, succeeded so well as to excite the jealousy of the large theatres, and in 1745 to cause the closing of the Opéra Comique. In 1752, however, Monet received permission to reestablish it at the Fair of St. Germain, and under his skilful management it progressed so rapidly that in 1762 the Opéra Comique joined the Comédie Italienne, and took possession of the room in the Rue Mauconseil, whence in 1783 they migrated to the theatre in the Rue Favart. In 1791 a second Opéra Comique Company established itself in the Rue Feydeau, and a fierce competition ensued, which ended in the ruin and closing of both houses in 1801. After this the two companies were united into one, which settled itself at the Théâtre Feydeau, leaving the Salle Favart to the Italian troupe. At the Feydeau they remained till April 1829, when the theatre, being no longer habitable, was closed. The Favart theatre being still in the hands of the Italians, the Opera Comique took possession of the Salle Ventadour, but quitted it in 1832 for the little Theatre des Nouveautés in the Place de la Bourse (no longer existing), and at length in 1840 returned to the Salle Favart, where it is still located. The house looks on to the Place Boieldieu. It holds 1500 persons. In 1879 it was completely restored by Crépinet, to the improvement of its acoustic qualities, which before were not good. [App. p.735 "the theatre was burnt down on May 25, 1887."]

[ G. C. ]