It was one of a wave of opera houses built in France and Europe in the middle of the 19th-century, representing the exuberant style of the Second Empire (1852-70). It remains the second largest opera house in France, after the Palais Garnier in Paris.
Designed by Léon Feuchéres, construction began in 1860. Feuchéres had previously worked on opera houses in Marseille and Avignon, but died shortly after the first brick had been laid in Toulon. The work was finished by Parisian architects Charpentier, pére et fils.
Today the opera house seats 1,797 people on five levels, and it is the home of the Opéra Toulon Provence Méditerranée, under the direction of Claude-Henri Bonnet. Throughout the year it hosts a variety of operas, music festivals, dance shows and theatrical performances.