This historic theater, the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, was built in the 1890s and has been a subsidized public theater since 1982. It has a small orchestra pit for musical productions, and is also used for spoken drama and concerts.
La Carmencita, which I saw there in 2006, is an adapted version of the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, re-written for nine singers, one actor and fifteen musicians. The intention was to re-tell the story with the intensity of a small-theater drama, and it worked beautifully.
But the main purpose of this series of eight performances was to show off the talented young singer-actors who were just graduating from the Young Singers of the Rhine at the National Opera of the Rhine in Strasbourg. Carolina Bruck Santos was a seductive young Carmen and Roger Padulles Pubill was an expressive young Don José.
The long-time director of this theatre, Louis Jouvet, was also a famous French film star. For more about him, see my post Atmosphère, atmosphère . . .
Unlike many of his colleagues, Louis Jouvet refused to operate his theater under German direction during the Second World War, when Paris was occupied by the German army. Instead, he took his company of actors on a prolonged ‘theatrical journey’ through Spain and Portugal, the Caribbean, Central and South American and parts of Africa. He was later quoted by the New York Times as saying: “In exile a man finds himself. Looking for some sense to my life, I found it in my metier and in my French heritage.”
Sq. de l’Opéra Louis-Jouvet, 7 rue Boudreau, 75009 Paris
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2020.
See more posts on Operas in Paris.
See also: my post on a later visit to the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet.