A Downland Suite - Minuet John Ireland Download 'A Downland Suite - Minuet' on iTunes
All this week the Full Works Concert celebrates the very best French music. But before we're enveloped in the rich sounds of Ravel, Debussy and Faure, let's take a tour of France's most spectacular opera houses and concert venues.
The Toulon Opéra, inaugurated in 1862, is the second-largest opera house in France and one of the country's national historic monuments. It stages around eight operas each season and tours to Avignon, Nice and Marseille. The canvas on the ceiling was painted by Duveau, who also created the ceiling of the Grand Salon of the Imperial Apartments in the Napoleon Wing of the Louvre.
In July 1914, when the Opéra de Lille wasn't quite completed, the Germans occupied the city and took much of the furniture and equipment. After four years of occupation, the building was restored and opened its doors again in 1923 for a rededication as the Grand Theatre. It was restored again in time for Lille's year as European Capital of Culture in 2004.
This medieval chapel in Paris offers a dazzling setting for more than 100 musical events each year, including solo recitals and ensemble performances. Photo: Benh
The Arsenal Concert Hall is a classical music venue in the capital of the Lorraine region. Home to the French National Orchestra of Lorraine, the Arsenal stages almost 200 events spread over the season period between September and June.
The Théâtre du Capitole is an opera house and ballet company in Toulouse. Michel Plasson was responsible for the artistic direction of the company from 1973. After extensive renovations, the theatre was re-opened for the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
Originally created in the late 18th Century, Nantes' main opera house was destroyed by fire in 1796 and was rebuilt to coincide with an 1811 visit by Napoléon Bonaparte. It was restored again in 2003. It seats more than 800 people. Photo: Selbymay
Inaugurated with a work by Lully in May 1770, this masterpiece of architecture still hosts opera productions and the world's finest classical musicians.
It was here at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux that the ballet 'La Fille Mal Gardée' premièred in 1789. It is one of the oldest wooden frame opera houses in Europe not to have burned down or required rebuilding. Today the theatre is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the Ballet National de Bordeaux.
The Opéra national de Lorraine is an opera company and opera house located in Nancy. Inaugurated in 1919, the opera house was built in the classical style combined with elements of art nouveau architecture. All of its productions are accompanied by the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy.
L'Auditorium de Lyon is the primary concert venue of the Orchestre National de Lyon. The 2,150 seat auditorium was started in 1972 and, while praised for its comfort, had a problem with acoustics. It was extensively renovated between 1993 and 2002.