My main page photo for Paris is the Grand Foyer of the Opéra:
This was my consolation prize for running out of time for Versailles. So everyone has heard of Gaston Leroux's story about a deformed hermit who haunted the watery, subterranean tunnels beneath a Parisian opera house? This is the place. Those tunnels really do exist, and there really is an aquifer down there that had to be contained before setting the foundation. And while the enormous chandelier in the auditorium has never fallen, one of its counterweights did and killed an unfortunate patron in 1896.
But that's the extent of fact colliding with fiction where "Phantom of the Opera" goes. Built over 13 years, from 1862-1874, this was the glittering home of Opéra National de Paris until the newer Opéra Bastille replaced it in 1989. This grande dame is still very much in use for ballet, classical music and, yes, some opera productions, and you can visit limited parts of it (no, you can't see those tunnels) either on your own or on a tour.
The website has all the information you need to know including entry fees, hours, tours, performance tickets, and excellent 360-degree presentations of the areas you will get to see. Note: Opéra Garnier is not included on the Paris Museum Pass, and the auditorium may be closed for rehearsal during your visit.
the Opera house of FRance and maybe Europe ,just wonderfully beautiful.
Napoléon III is slighted hurt on a attempt on his life on January 14 1858, on the rue Le Peletier where the opera at the time was. Anarchists led by Felice Orsini, throw several objects explosives at the carruage of the Emperor, the couple is out unharmed but they are found in the middle of 8 dead and about 42 wounded.
The building of a new Opera is decided by the Emperor the next day he gives the order for the construction on september 29 1860. After a contest to chose the architect, Charles Garnier (1825-1898) first price of Rome in 1848 ,second by collegues from the school of fine arts entered the contest. His proposal bears No 38 as all were entered anonymous.
The jury is presided by the Prince Walewski, natural son of Napoléon Ier and by the Countess Walewska. Even the great names like Viollet-le-Duc and Rohault de Fleury are eliminated in the first round. On May 30 1861, Charles Garnier, unknown architect of 35 yrs old is declare the winner of the contest unanimous.
And the history began, not only here but many other buildings done by him , he died in Paris on August 3 1898,
All you loyal readers of my Nürnberg page (thanks again to both of you!) will recall that there I talked about the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) and his opera Iphigenie in Aulis, composed in 1774.
Here in Paris I saw the sequel, Iphigenie en Tauride, with the American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in the title role. She has been one of my all-time favorite singers ever since I saw her as Octavian in Birmingham, England, in the 1990s. As Iphigenie she was fantastic as usual, and was enthusiastically cheered by the audience in the Opera Garnier.
The orchestra and the other singers were first-rate, as well, and the attractive stage set included reflecting walls that could be raised or lowered at appropriate times. Up where I was sitting we saw the orchestra and conductor reflected on those walls, and the folks downstairs saw the reflection of the golden balconies of the large hall, which I thought was a beautiful way of incorporating the magnificent architecture of the building into the staging of the opera itself.
The one thing that detracted somewhat from the performance was the fact that the stage director had decided it should take place in an old-people's home, so there were about twenty extra players as old women limping around the stage at various times. Normally I am quite good at figuring out what the stage directors are trying to say (I know some of these folks and am on their wavelength, so to speak), but this time I was quite baffled. And I wasn't the only one, because when these extra players came on stage to take their bows at the end, the whole house erupted in loud boos. (Which was a bit unfair to these poor ladies who were only doing what the stage director told them to do. As this performance was not the premiere, the stage director was no longer there to take the blame.)
Second photo: Spectators taking their seats in the upper balconies.
Third and fourth photos: The paintings on the ceiling were commissioned by André Malraux, then Minister of Culture, and were painted by Marc Chagall between 1960 and 1964.
Fifth photo: Statue of the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck in the lobby of the Opéra Garnier.
THE grand, sumptuous, impressive Auditorium WAS CLOSED!
What a HUGE disappointment!!! We had to look through a square in the door, as the stage was being used for rehearsal.
All I have are the few photos!
So I suggest, ask before you pay your entrance fee if it is open for viewing..,... This is IF you really want to see it!
If you want to know anything about Opera, check out Don NEMORINO page
His is the expert on Opera!
After the Grand Foyer we came across The Salon du Glacier. A complete contrast to the Grand foyer, not an excessive lot of gold here, instead it gave me a feeling of peacefulness, a restful area. It was a place for refreshments, where tea coffee, fruit, wine and pastries could be enjoyed, so it was probably meant to give me that feeling. The ceiling was painted and has a crown of grape vines, naked women, and cherubs making this a lively scene.
Tapestries along the wall were woven by different artists between 1873 and 1874, each of them representing various refreshments.
Want to see opulence at its best......Haven't time to see Versailles......
I suggest coming here and seeing the Palais and the stunningly beautiful Grand Foyer.
The Grand Foyer was restored in 2004. Garnier, the Architect, wanted this foyer to resemble the gallery of a classical chateau. It sure does! Mirrors and windows accentuate its vast dimensions, the magnificent ceiling portrays themes from the history of music. Charles Garnier's bust stands in the centre of the foyer, near one of the windows that look down the avenue de l'Opera towards the Louvre.
This is the most impressive of all the Foyers, but don't think the others aren't worth seeing or are dowdy, they aren't! They are richly decorated, providing the audience with areas to stroll through during intervals. Mosaics, gold, chandeliers and views of the Grand Staircase make this a must see.
Stop 6 is where we alighted from the Bus.
We had decided to visit the Palais Garnier, the 13th theatre to house the Paris Opera since it was founded by Louis XIV in 1669. It was built on the orders of Napoleon III.
This is another building which was decided by a competition who would build it. The competition was won by Charles Garnier, a young unknown 35-year-old architect. It took from 1860 to 1875, before the building was completed, and is the most important symbol of the 19th century Second Empire baroque style.
One of the reasons it took so long to complete, was because an underground lake was discovered during construction. This leads me to the classic Novel, “The Phantom of the Opera," which has been adapted to a variety of film and stage productions. The underground lake and spring which caused delays to construction, was the setting of some of the most important scenes in the novel. The lake still exists and lies beneath the cellars of the building.
Outside, on one of the corners, is a monument remembering Charles Garnier. The building has many statues and beaut arches, it gives the feeling of opulence even before we entered inside.
The great staircase, the foyers, the museum, the auditorium (for artistic or technical reasons, it may not always be accessible) can be visited unaccompanied every day from 10:00 am to 5:00p m (last admissions 4:30 pm).
From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm when a matinee performance is scheduled
Guided tours in English are held every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday : 11:30am / 2:30pm
ADMISSION IN 2013... 9 euros.
Entering the building, we paid our 9 euro admission fee, receieved an informative brochure, and then were left to roam around and look at what ever.
We came to the one and only Grand Staircase, grand....yes! Infact, I thought all the staircases in the Palais were "grand!" Built from marble, the double stairway leads to the foyers and the different levels of the auditorium. At either side of the Staircase, stand two bronze, large female figures holding bouquets of light.
Where to look first, hard to decide, so I took a seat on one of the steps and looked. The ceiling is beautiful, painted with allegories of music, chandelier's fill the room with a dull light. For me, it was breath-taking. Step back in time, sit and think back to a time when elegant Ladies dressed in their finest gowns, and the Gentlemen with their wigs on and dressed to impress, walked gracefully up this grand staircase. Wow! I would have liked to been a fly on the wall!
This beautiful structure with its ornate facade was a masterpiece of 19th century. It was designed by Charles Garnier for Napoleon III and inaugurated in 1875.
The interior of the opera boasts a "Grand Staircase" made of white marble with a balustrude of red and green marble and there is a five-tiered auditorium which is decorated in red velvet, gold leafing and cherubs. The ceiling was painted by Chagal and deserves special attention.
Underneath the building is a small lake which inspired Paul Leroux's hiding place for Phantom of the Opera.
There are daily tours of the interior of the opera house.
The Palais Garnier is the 13th theater to house the Paris Opera since it was founded by Louis XIV in 1669. It was built on the orders of Napoleon III as part of the great Parisian reconstruction project carried out by Baron Haussmann. The project for an opera house was put out to competition and was won by Charles Garnier, an unknown 35 years old architect. Building work, which lasted 15 years, from 1860-1875, was interrupted by numerous incidents, including the 1870 war, the fall of the Empire and the Commune. The Palais Garnier was inaugurated on 15 January 1875.
The most amazing me in this building is the Foyer.
The vast and richly decorated foyers the audience with areas to stroll through during intervals. The vault of the avant foyer is covered with delightful mosaics in sparkling colours on a gold background.
Price for adult: 9.00 euros
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