Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris
Capacity : 2700 seats
2 hours 45 minutes
Recommended for all ages
In Italian with English & French subtitles
One of Verdi's most celebrated operas, Rigoletto traces the downfall of its eponymous court jester. Despite his fervent love and desire to protect her, all Rigoletto's best efforts are not enough to save his beautiful daughter from the tragic end that awaits her... and him.
Indulge in the Theatre in Paris Deluxe Opéra Package, an exclusive ticket package available even after standard sales for the opera are closed. Deluxe tickets come with a show programme, a glass of champagne upon your arrival at the venue, and exclusive access to the Opéra Bastille's beautiful Salon Berlioz, reserved for primary ticket holders. A result of our official partnership with the Friends of Paris Opera Association, the package can only be purchased via the Theatre in Paris box office.
Based on a play by French playwright Victor Hugo, Verdi’s Rigoletta takes place in Italy, at the court of the licentious Duke of Mantua. Having mischievously encouraged the Duke in his salacious behaviour, hunchbacked court jester Rigoletto finds himself implicated in the incensed curses of an insulted courtier. Pulled down into a fatal web of immorality, the jester ends up paying the highest possible price for his actions: the life of his cherished and beautiful daughter, Gilda.
In his bold reimagining of Verdi's opera, German director Claus Guth takes the masterpiece's final bars as his starting point. Instead of closing with, Guth’s revival opens to the image of the Rigoletto crouched grief-stricken before the lifeless body of his daughter, exposing the tragic conclusion at the drama’s outset. The remainder of the libretto filters to us through the hunchback's aggrieved reveries, as he looks back with remorse on the events that preceded and are now shadowed by Gilda’s death.
Designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, the building was commissioned by French President François Mitterrand and inaugurated in 1989. For years many had lamented the lack of a modern venue in Paris capable of welcoming modern concerts and performances with different acoustic approaches, and the flexibility that a modulable venue lends. A movement started in the 1960s called for a larger new venue in Paris that would appeal to the masses, a modern compliment to the elaborate Palais Garnier. Just over 100 years after the inauguration of the Palais Garnier, the demands finally won over the newly-elected President Mitterrand, who supported the project as the headliner among many modern works launched during his term. Selecting the popular Bastille neighbourhood for its ease of accessibility from Paris and the surrounding areas, the old Bastille Train Station was destroyed to make way for the construction of the new venue. The building was complete just in time for the bicentary of the French Revolution.
The venue has undergone many changes in direction resulting from varying political affiliations, and has undergone major renovations since its construction to repair and to soundproof the entire structure. Unlike other auditorium designs, each and every seat at the Opéra Bastille guarantees an unrestricted view of the stage. With its white glass ceiling, crisp grey compliments, and black seating adorned with rich oak, the venue is an ode to modernity and simplistic design. From the exterior, made of blue granite from Brittany and blocks of glass, light is reflected from every corner of this angular venue.
Where will I be seated and will I see the subtitles properly?
There are a maximum of three categories available, each of which provides a comfortable view of the subtitles. The theatre is an Italian style auditorium, meaning the seats are in a horse-shoe shape. Theatre in Paris guests are centrally placed either in the orchestra, on the first level/mezzanine, or in the second, third, and fourth level lodge boxes to have an optimal view of the stage and subtitles.
How do I get to the theatre?
The theatre is accessible by the metro station Opéra (Lines 3, 7, 8 and RER A). Our hotline can be reached in case of difficulty finding the theatre weekdays from 10 am to 7pm Paris time. For details, we invite you to consult the map above.
What do I do when I get to the theatre?
We invite you to arrive 20 minutes before the beginning of the show, and present your voucher at the front desk. The theatre's English-speaking staff members will guide you to your seats. Please note that the performances at the Opéra Bastille begin precisely on time, and all late arrivals will not be permitted to enter the auditorium until intermission.
How long does the show last?
The show lasts two hours and forty five minutes, including one intermission.
Is it a show for travellers or French people?
Both! The Opéra Bastille has been welcoming audiences from all over the world for 30 years. This legendary opera performance is sung in its original Russian, and subtitles in both French and English are provided for audiences to appreciate in one of France’s most iconic venues.
Subtitles or “surtitles”?
Surtitles (also called supertitles) are the theatre equivalent of subtitles. That’s because in French “sur” means “above”. At the Opéra Bastille, the text is projected both on the sides of the auditorium, and centrally directly above the stage. Read more about surtitles here.
Does the venue have a specific dress code?
For Parisian operas and ballets, the dress tends to be a bit fancier than in other venues, so feel free to have a little fun and dress to impress. Many Parisians will arrive directly from work, dressed in casual chic attire. Generally, elegant casual wear is required, jackets are recommended for men. Shorts, Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, sportswear and trainers are discouraged.
Is there a coat check available?
Free cloakrooms are available on various floors of the theatre. Travel bags and suitcase are not allowed.
Can I take photos of the performance?
In order not to disturb the artists on stage, and for the comfort of other guests, you are not permitted to photograph, film or record the performance for the duration of the show. As long as the performance is not currently in session, feel free to take a snapshot of the wonderful venue to remember your night out!
What is included with my tickets?
A dedicated show programme, a complimentary glass of champagne, and exclusive access to the beautiful Salon Berlioz is included with your tickets.
Where do I collect my show programme and champagne?
At the Opéra Bastille, you can collect your included show programme in the main store, at the programme stand in the entry hall, or at the various programme stands on the ground, 2nd, and 4th floors.
You can choose to enjoy your champagne or desired beverage before the performance or during intermission at any of the public bars or in the exclusive Salon Berlioz. The Salon is located on the first floor on the right-hand side when entering the building, accessible by elevators or stairs.