Opulent Paris Opera House on the hunt for startups and ‘geeks’

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 08 Jun 2017

The Paris Opera is opening its opulent 19th-century palace to startups as it seeks technology partnerships to help expand its audience and attract newcomers to the classical stage. 

France’s national opera signed a co-branding deal to sell Devialet SA’s high-end speakers in its concert house in central Paris, as well as stream live performances over the startup’s products. It’s on the lookout for more partnerships with technology companies, the Paris Opera’s deputy chief executive officer Jean-Philippe Thiellay said. 

The Palais Garnier, where tourists flock to see gilded statues and a ceiling painted by Marc Chagall, is undergoing a partial makeover to make space for a Devialet showroom by September, a few meters from the grand marble staircase.  

Devialet, which raised €100mil (RM479.74mil) in December to expand its business of selling speakers from €1,690 (RM8,107) apiece, will unveil new models tailored to fans of Giuseppe Verdi or Jules Massenet and share revenue with the Paris Opera from sales of those products. 

“The opera wants to reinvent itself and open up to a changing world, and we’re convinced behind each opera aficionado there is a geek,” Thiellay said June 7 at a conference at the palace, after playing clips from a dress rehearsal of Verdi’s Rigoletto last month in the French capital. “We’re keeping watch for more tech partnerships.” 

Founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the “Acadamie d’Opera” to pin France on the global stage of lyric performances, the Paris Opera is facing similar challenges to opera houses from the New York Met to Italy’s Scala, seeking to integrate digital tools into its strategy as well as woo new categories of concert-goers to freshen its customer base. 

Deputy CEO Thiellay forecast the Devialet deal, which spans over 10 years, will generate millions of euros in revenue over its course. — Bloomberg

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