Situated in the heart of Lille, close to the Grand Place and historic quarter, the Opéra de Lille was built in the 1910s, just before World War I. Due to financial difficulties and aging technical facilities, the spectacular neo-classical building, designed by Louis-Marie Cordonnier—an architect from the North of France—had to close its doors and cease all operation in 1998. Following a complete renovation, the Opéra de Lille reopened its doors in December 2003, when Lille became the 2004 European Capital of Culture.
As an institution symbolic of the Flanders capital, the Opéra de Lille offers an original and exacting program, producing operas from all repertoires, from Baroque to Creation, with emerging and established innovative artists. Contemporary dance also plays an important role in this project. The aim is to reach a large and diverse public throughout the Hauts-de-France region. Initiatives like Happy Days, Finoreille, or the annual broadcasting of an opera in 25 of the region's communes illustrate how the institution is trying to reach this wider public.
Caroline Sonrier, the Opera's director since its reopening in 2003, is working to produce a rich and varied program every season that mixes opera, dance, and even concerts. Under her direction, the Opéra de Lille has also developed a number of artistic partnerships: Le Concert d'Astrée, the Ictus ensemble, the National Orchestra of Lille, the Orchestra of Picardie, the Le Balcon ensemble, and even the choreographers Christian Rizzo, Daniel Linehan, and the terrain company | Boris Charmatz.
The originality and prestige of the Opéra de Lille was recognized with the certification of Musical Theatre of National Interest (Théâtre Lyrique d'Intérêt National) in 2017.