For a long time I have known that the opera house in Toulouse is called the “Théâtre du Capitole”, but I didn’t realize (never having been there before) that the Opera and the City Hall were in the same building. No doubt a unique feature of Toulouse. (Update: Toulouse may have been the first, but Amsterdam also has its opera house and city hall in the same building.)
The south half of Le Capitole, on your right as you face the front of the building, is the opera house. Unfortunately I was there in the summer, so I could not attend a performance or even see the inside of the theater. The photo shows my VélôToulouse bike below their season poster for 2014-2015, next to the theater box office. The poster lists ten operas (from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries) and five ballets, as well as concerts, recitals and other events.
Their schedule for 2018-2019 also includes ten operas, starting with Verdi’s La traviata, followed by La ville morte (The Dead City) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Then comes an opera I have never even heard of, Kopernikus by the Canadian composer Claude Vivier, who was murdered in Paris in 1983 at age 34.
After that they did Lucrezia Borgia by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), and then an opera I have seen many times including David Hermann’s staging in Nancy, Ariane à Naxos (Ariadne auf Naxos) by Richard Strauss (1864-1949). This was followed by a quite different Ariane, namely Ariane et Barbe-Bleue by Paul Dukas (1865-1935), which I saw several times at the Frankfurt Opera in 2008 and 2012 in a staging by Sandra Leupold, with brilliant costumes by Eva-Mareike Uhlig.
At the end of the 2018-2019 season in Toulouse comes a French operetta called Mam’zelle Nitouche by Hervé (1825-1892) and Werther by Jules Massenet (1842-1912), an opera I have seen many times in Frankfurt, Freiburg, Würzburg, Darmstadt and Brussels.
This square tower just behind the main building is called the “Donjon du Capitole”. It is the location of the city’s tourist office. From here I took two guided walking tours, Atmosphères toulousaines and Grands Monuments de Toulouse, which I will describe in due course.
The inside rooms of the city hall are said to be very impressive, but we did not get to see them because so many couples were getting married there — at the rate of one wedding every half hour.
The entire east side of the Place du Capitole (across from the Capitole building) consists of wall-to-wall restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating. The one in the photo is Le Florida, which is quite informal on the outside. But they also have a swanky upstairs lounge bar called “Le Roof”, where “formal dress” is supposedly required. (Le Roof is in fact not on the roof at all, but just up one flight of stairs, as I learned from their website.)
Location, aerial view and photo of Le Capitole on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2019.
Next: Vauban and the Canal du Midi.