In is the oldest working theatre in France having been constructed between 1732 and its inauguration on 3 February 1752 with a ball. In the few years after its inauguration it staged several plays from the classic repertoire of the time, including those by Racine, Pierre Corneille, Molière whereas toweards the end of the ancien regime more contemporary plays by Voltaire, Marivaux, Diderot, and Beaumarchais.
By 1777 it seated 1,384 but after various remodelings over time to improve comfort and sightlines, it had been reduced to 750 seats in 1963. The most recent restoration took place between 1981-1982.
Nineteen century performances represented the work of both the major dramatists of the era (Hernani by Victor Hugo appearing just after its Paris premiere) and the major opera composers such as Weber, Vincenzo Bellini, and Donizetti as well as the grand operas of Meyerbeer, Fromental Halévy, and Daniel Auber. By the end of that century, the theatre was presenting (in 1894/95) 187 events, of which 135 were in french and 52 in German.