The Opera was once located on the site of the current Museum of Fine Arts in the Place Stanislas. This so-called Théâtre de la Comédie, built in 1758 on the initiative of Stanislas, was completely destroyed by fire on the night of October 5th, 1906.
Its reconstruction and where to build it became the source of much debate. Given the city’s development, some wanted an Opera that was more centrally located; but for many, it seemed essential to keep the opera house in the historic district built in the prosperous years of Stanislas. The (newly enacted) separation of Church and State offered an unexpected solution. In 1909, the State took possession of the Hôtel des Fermes (the former Bishop’s palace) which made it possible to keep the Opera on Place Stanislas.
In 1906, an architectural competition was launched. Emile André’s Art Nouveau project proved popular with the citizens of Nancy, but the jury opted for the design of the Alsace-born architect Joseph Hornecker. His Italian-style theatre, a pastiche of an 18th century Opera was more suited to the traditional standards of the time. The new Theatre was inaugurated on October 14th, 1919 to the applause of the public who paid tribute as much to the work of the architect as the Opera company which gave a performance of Reyer’s Sigurd that evening evening.
In 1994, under the direction of Thierry Algrin, the architect of Historic Monuments, the Opera underwent major restoration aimed at recreating the auditorium exactly as it was on the day of its inauguration a little over 80 years before.
On January 1st, 2006, the Ministry of Culture and Communication awarded the Nancy opera house the “National Opera” label. As a result, The Opera of Nancy and Lorraine became the fifth regional National Opera after Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Montpellier. This distinction is a genuine recognition of the quality of the work and artistic skills of the teams at Lorraine National Opera.