Sunday, February 10, 2013

Salle Pleyel

Salle Pleyel, the primary concert hall in central Paris, named after the piano manufacturer.

During my previous visits to Paris, Salle Pleyel had been closed for extensive renovation. It was only last month that I was able to see anything other than the exterior of Salle Pleyel.

A splendid example of Art Deco architecture and design, Salle Pleyel opened in 1927. A 1928 fire required the auditorium to be reconstructed. The reconstruction was done on the cheap, with the result that the auditorium lost not only its beauty but also its acoustics.

The auditorium was to remain notorious for the next 74 years, known worldwide for its disadvantageous seating layout and atrocious acoustical properties. It was only in 2002 that Salle Pleyel was closed for wholesale renovation, one purpose of which was to create at long last a concert hall worthy of Paris.

The current auditorium, completed in 2006, is entirely new and entirely modern, and bears no resemblance to the original auditorium or its 1928 replacement. The rest of the building has been restored to its original Art Deco elegance.

After only two visits, Salle Pleyel has become one of my favorite concert halls.

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