Théâtre municipal de Tarascon
Tarascon - Cultural place
One of the most remarkable Italian-style theatres in the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region, classified as a Historic Monument.
In a Royal Order of 10 August 1825, Charles X approved the Municipal Council's decision to acquire land and a church formerly belonging to the Dominicans (15th century) for the creation of a theatre.
In 1925, Tarascon, which had 12,000 inhabitants and had been a sub-prefecture for 15 years, chose a disused church near Porte Saint-Jean.
It became State property during the Revolutionary era, then a barn under the Republic; major renovation work was started in 1826.
The Théâtre Municipal was inaugurated in 1828, but was completely destroyed by a serious fire during the night of 16 April 1884.
On 31 December 1887, the Municipal Council authorised Louis Chabanel, Mayor of Tarascon, to conclude a private sale with the Tarascon entrepreneurs Mr Tissier and the Maison Apy Portal et Cie, which provided 3 quotes amounting to 43,902 Francs.
A large stage was constructed.
Above the red curtain was inscribed the well-known phrase by Virgil, uttered by a shepherd, 'Deus nobis haec otia fecit', 'God has given us this leisure'. This perfectly appointed room, with its excellent acoustics, rivalled the regions' great theatres.
The current theatre was inaugurated with a performance of Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville' in 1888.
This was followed by a number of shows and comic operas. Tragedies, comedies and variety shows attracted the greatest names of the time, including Albert Lambert, Cécile Saurel, Gaby Morlay, Joséphine Baker, Marie Bell, Fernandel, Tino Rossi, Georges Guétary, Yves Montand and Edith Piaf.
On more than one occasion when entering the theatre, members of the Comédie Française, unable to hide their admiration, were heard to say, 'Your theatre is a real gem', 'a little marvel'.
Following this restoration work, the main façade was adorned with a fronton representing a lyre held by two angels, the work of the Tarascon sculptor Jean-Barnabé Amy (1895).
In 1963, after sixty-four years of life, the building urgently required major repairs. The Chapel vault threatened to collapse and cause a serious accident, then a stone fell off the vault. The theatre was closed for safety reasons. The various problems were studied and a quote was drawn up; it amounted to 4 million Francs. Ultimately, the Municipal Council decided not to approve the renovation project.
The theatre's renaissance began in 1989
The theatre had had the honour of rising from the ashes after the 1884 fire; it had the same good fortune in 1989.
Thérèse Aillaud, Mayor of Tarascon, launched major work in 1985 and saved this venue, which is dear to the hearts of Tarascon residents.
On the evening of 7 January, the theatre performed 'Ba-Ta-Clan' by Offenbach, a one-act musical chinoiserie directed by Guy Coutance.
Twenty years later...
The theatrical seasons are just as successful.
Charles Fabre, Mayor of Tarascon, Vice President of the Arles Crau Camargue Montagnette urban area community and Elisabeth Alric, Deputy Mayor responsible for Culture and the Municipal Council, celebrated the '20th anniversary' of the reopening of the Théâtre Municipal in Tarascon on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 January 2009.
Information provided by OT Tarascon
Théâtre municipal de Tarascon
2 rue Pelletan
- 04 90 91 51 02
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