French opera cancels reopening because… it’s on strike

French opera cancels reopening because… it’s on strike


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2021

The  Opéra de Lyon has announced it cannot reopen as planned this week because the building is occupied by striking staff and covered with posters saying ‘no reopening without social rights’.

No change there, you might say.

The company’s management has sought a court order to evict the occupying protestors. Good luck with that.

Similar occupations are taking place at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris and the Théâtre de la Criée in Marseille.




  • Nicolas says:

    You have misunderstood the situation: the staff from the opera is not on strike and the building is occupied by various outsiders like students, unemployed and freelance musicians. It is the situation in Marseille and Paris

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    France is pretty-well done, sadly. Reign in your massive debt and bring order to your fractured multiculturalism and there’s a chance of progress. Everybody needs to be working 3 times harder, just as a first move towards improvement.

    My son worked there 20 years ago in the wine industry and was simply staggered by the degree of social welfare.

  • Politcal Scientist says:

    Sadly, France is the world’s largest kindergarten, both on the civic and political level, a place of incredible infantilism and a never-ending state of being discontent and miserable, no matter what happens, even if things “improve”, as in that way nobody really has any responsibility for anything and complaining and protesting and rioting and shouting and burning down buildings just become the national identity and ultimate objective. I have lived there for 12 years and saw the same violent demonstrations and disrespectful debates over and over and yet they achieve nothing and it all repeats again and again. Did they ever think of creating something new and original, of actually having a civilised and constructive dialogue, instead of their boring and stupid non-stop aggressive verbal diarrhoea, shouting at each other and over each other, setting fires, smashing banks, burning cars and hating anything that represents success or progress?
    If French people would have used just 25% of the energy that they have wasted on negative expressions of their deep unhappiness and permanent state of discontent, by learning other languages and learning about other cultures and ask themselves why others are able to achieve so much more without ever needing to resort to the French way of confrontation and physical blocking of buildings and constant aggression, they would have made some progress.
    I sadly don’t hold out much hope for them, as they lack the ability to listen to others, learn from others and respect others who may think differently than they do. It really is pathetic, especially in the transitional time that we are living in, to see a once great nation holding on to ways of “revolutionary” change that are so totally outdated and anachronistic, leaving them isolated and looking incapable of adapting to a future world where constant physical and verbal confrontation will belong more to underdeveloped and primitive societies.

  • Sly says:

    As Nicolas wrote in the first comment, the situation in Lyon is somewhat misleadingly described. The staff of the opera is not and was not on strike : The re-opening couldn’t take place last week because there were still people occupying the opera – As you know many theatres in France were occupied since March, by people fighting for many subjects, the first of them being the re-opening of theatres. Now in Lyon (and in Theatre de l’Odeon, Paris), these people have left the theatre and have found other places where to pursue their fight and carry their demands. As a result, performances will resume this week and the opera company will be able to present Rimsky-Korsakov’s The golden cockerel (in the Barrie Kosky staging, which will also be shown later this summer at the Aix-en-Provence Festival).