The world’s most expensive theatre is set to open on the eve of a French election that could be a nail-biter for President Emmanuel Macron.
The Lyric Opera House, located on a sprawling site in Paris, is expected to open this summer after a three-year construction and design delay that critics have called “a disaster for the city”.
The building’s construction cost is estimated at a staggering $2 billion.
It was built to be the world’s tallest theatre but a series of setbacks and cost overruns have resulted in delays, cancellations and cost increases.
The building, with a capacity of 3,000 seats, was designed by France’s renowned architect Bernard Marais, who is known for his bold, futuristic design for the world-famous Eiffel Tower.
“The Lyrics was a masterpiece of architecture, designed by Marais,” said Julien Lelievre, a member of the French Parliament who chairs the Paris building committee.
“Its structure is not only extraordinary, it is a masterpiece for the country.”
But critics have decried the Lyric’s $2-billion cost and criticism that it has failed to make a profit.
The building was designed to cost $2.2 billion, but it is expected by the government to cost only $1.8 billion.
Its construction cost was “absolutely insane”, said Lelovre.
“This is a project that was never expected to happen.”
The Lyrian theatre, which opened in 2005, was the brainchild of former Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and former President François Hollande, who both worked on the Lyrics.
They bought it for $1 billion from France’s state-owned operator EDF, which was also the operator of the Eiffels.
The theatre was meant to be a flagship for Paris’s cultural district, which has seen a decline in visitors since the deadly terrorist attacks in November 2015 that left 130 dead.
Its opening has been marred by controversy and by reports of delays and delays of the project’s estimated $1-billion price tag.
Critics have called the Lyrian a disaster, while the architect, Marais and other French officials have described the Lyra as a “great” project that will attract a new generation of audiences.
The architect also has been criticised for using materials that were not designed for a high-rise.
It is believed to have been designed to withstand winds of up to 230 kilometres per hour, and its building is designed to house about 200 people.
Marais told French media in October that the building will not be ready for the Paris presidential election, but said it was already ready for its opening.
“I have just returned from the Lyriac Theatre, which is ready for my guests,” he told Le Figaro.
“We’ve already been waiting for about three years for this project to be done.
We can now say it is done, we have finished it.”
However, the Lyrium’s backers are adamant the Lyria will reopen.
“It’s a miracle, a miracle of a project of this magnitude,” said Lefebvre, a French theatre critic.
“It is a beautiful project and it will attract new audiences.”