The Paris Opera was built between
1862 and 1875 by Charles Garnier, it is a baroque example of neoclassicism:
It has an ornamented facade, monumental stairs and an Italian-type
hall with Chagall paintings on the ceiling. Maria Callas and Rudolf
Noureev are among the many artists who wrote its history as one
of the world's foremost scenic stages for opera and ballet alike.
Since the opening of the Opéra Bastille in 1989, the Opéra
Garnier is devoted to ballets..
Construction started in 1861 and lasted for 14 years. The massive
works were slowed down by the discovery of a water table that had
to be drained before building an enormous concrete well designed
to carry the gigantic stage and fly tower. The well was filled with
water in order to counter the water pressure (hence the legend of
the underground lake popularized by Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the
Opera). The 1870 Franco-Prussian war and the Commune interrupted
the construction works, but the fire at the old opera in the Rue
Le Peletier in 1873 hastened the completion of the monument. It
was officially inaugurated during the Third Republic by Field Marshall
de Mac-Mahon on 5 January 1875.
The building, which is a perfect example of 19th century stage architecture,
hides its iron frame under flamboyant decoration. The overall impression
is harmonious in spite of the diversity of its inspiration and the
temes taken up by Charles Garnier. He personally supervised the
integration in the architecture of decorative works entrusted to
sculptors, painters and mosaic artists representative, as himself
was, of state-sponsored artists.
From 1881 down to the present day, several restoration and modernization
programmes have made the theatre increasingly functional without
lessening its appeal as a monument: technical progress and the evolution
of sets under the influence of "verism". The next step
was the building of a modern and popular opera house: Opera Bastille.
Opera Garnier : Place de l'Opera, Paris 9e
Opera Bastille : Place de la Bastille Pari,s 12e
How to get there
The Opera is walking distance from the hotel Villathena.
Informations, hours, entrance fees & acces map.
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