When you hear about the opera in Paris, it’s the Opéra Garnier. Although I certainly do enjoy singing while I shampoo my hair, the namesake (as far as I know) has little connection with this magnificent place. Music, on the other hand, most definitely comes with the package: I was lucky enough to see a number of ballets here during my sojourn in Paris, all with amazing, live orchestras and phenomenally choreographed dances. The following photos come from a guided tour of the facility, which I would highly recommend if you find yourself in the area. The first few shots show what used to be a preparatory room underneath the orchestra/seating area where high-class individuals would spruce themselves up before attending a performance. The four big statues of composers represent the four schools of Opera music, which I can’t remember for the life of me (it may have been as easy as French, English, German, and Italian, but don’t trust me).
Then we have the library and museum: the library is functional today, and if you have a membership (which extends to the BNF, the national library of France), you can check out signed, original copies of many scores of famous music from throughout the ages – with supervision, of course, and with very special permission. There were many scene mock-ups and other works of art that I thought were both wonderfully crafted and displayed.
If my memory serves me correctly, we then have the Great Hall, a very impressive show of what funding went into this place and that which continues to maintain it. Whether real or false, there was a lot of gold on those walls…
Finally, here are some shots of the orchestra, where all of the spectators sit, and some of the false curtain covering the stage. The ceiling featured a very interesting, almost childlike mural – by Matisse, if I’m not mistaken? Once again, you have my apologies for not uploading these when my memory was fresher.
This was easily one of my favorite sights in Paris, largely because it came with sound and spectacle as well! I wish that I’d had my camera on me for my last visit to the Musée d’Orsay, because they feature a cross-section scale model of the Opéra that would have been a very helpful tool to illustrate the layout. There’s always Google 😉