A venue, public service
The “Théâtre des Arts” building we are familiar with today is the third to bear this title. It was built to the design of Pierre Sonrel, Jean Maillard and Robert Levasseur. Work began in 1953 but soon came to a halt before resuming in 1956, stopping again and then restarting in 1959. Its official opening came on 11 December 1962 with a performance of the opera Carmen. Making maximum use of the possibilities offered by concrete, the Théâtre des Arts is an impressive edifice. Its austere marble front elevation looks proudly out toward the Seine and leads into a friendly, comfortable auditorium in the classic Italian style capable of accommodating an audience of 1,350.
The cultural organisation occupying the theatre was initially run directly by the city council but in 1998 it became a non-profit association assigned the tasks of producing vocal works for audiences and programming operas, concerts by its Orchestra and dance works in Rouen’s Théâtre des Arts. In 2004, the Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie became an EPCC (Établissement Public de Coopération Culturelle / Public establishment for cultural cooperation). This legal status gives the local government bodies funding an institution strict control over the latter’s finances and adherence to a set of formalised requirements, but also allows great artistic and organisational freedom for its chief executive and staff.
Now recently renamed “Opéra de Rouen Normandie”,the institution is currently funded by the Upper Normandy regional council, Rouen city council, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Upper Normandy regional directorate for cultural affairs (DRAC), the governing council of the Eure département and the local government council for the conurbation of Rouen, “Métropole Rouen Normandie ».