La Scala Unveiled
As I have said we have watched La Scala take shape over two years and its opening date has been pushed back several times. Arriving in Paris early September it was still very much a construction site. Indeed 3 days before the opening Frédéric took my partner and myself on a hard hat tour with some 100 plus workers still onsite. There was no way I thought they would finish the construction let alone the fit-out in time, but they did. It is best described by Frédéric.
“We wanted La Scala to be a totally adaptable theatre, a place where we will be able to make concerts, dance, circus, cinema, art exhibitions. I want this place to be a centre of art, which New York has understood for 15 years and that we here are struggling to make exist. The project is daring. La Scala in its artistic dimension, has not only ambition to become a major atypical cultural Paris but a place of proximity rooted in the local life. It is also this desire for local cultural proximity that makes this project fascinating to me in its desire to accompany the vibrant cultural life of the 10th arrondissement. "
At its heart is the theatre space with a retractable step and a flexible gauge of 550 seats up to 750. These are over three levels with the largest bring the ground floor where they are retractable. It is also important to note from the neighbour’s point of view that the theatre has 220 special panels making it not only noise proof but delivering internally incredible acoustics. The foyers and public areas are stylish and simple painted in a colour the paint company especially made and now named Scala blue. There is also a very modern and stylish restaurant and bar located on the first floor overlooking the Boulevard de Strasbourg. The restaurant of 77 seats is open 10am to midnight operates as part of the life of the district not tied to performances and those attending shows. True to his word Frédéric did make the September deadline. Not only was it completed fitted out but the construction site on the adjoining footpath ( typical of limited spaces in Paris but that would never be allowed in Australia ) miraculously made way for a red carpet. There was certainly a buzz around the opening, well actually there were several opening , media etc. It was a privilege to attend and see not the end of a 230 year journey but the beginning of even more opportunities for the arts in Paris.