Thursday, 29 October 2015

Palais Garnier - Theatre de l’Opera- The Paris Opera House

The construction of the Paris Opera house, or the Theatre de l’Opera, was initiated by Napoleon III as part of his grand renovation plans for Paris. A competition was held to choose an architect, and an unknown architect named Charles Garnier was the winner. The buildings appearance is distinct; it blends several architectural styles and building materials. Garnier is quoted as that the style is neither Greek nor Roman but done in Napoleon III style. Construction of the Opera began in 1861, but due to the enormous expensis involved, it wasn’t finished until 1875, five years after the fall of Napoleon III. The theater opened on January 5, 1875.

The opera’s grand staircase is one of the most famous parts of the theater. It is made on white, green, and red marble that came from quarries in France’s colonies. The staircase has always been a place where famous Parisians have gone to see and to be seen.

The grand foyer in a theater is the space right outside the auditorium. It’s the place where guests can relax and chat with fellow audience members before the show or during the intermission. Before designing the Opera, Garnier traveled throughout Europe, visiting is most famous theaters. While he was very traditional in the design for the stage and auditorium, he was more innovative with the foyer. In the nineteenth century, most theaters had separate foyers- one for the nobility and one for the upper classes. Garnier overcame these divisions and created just one foyer, the grand foyer, which was open to anyone who could afford the price of a ticket.

The magnificent red and gold auditorium had its ceiling painted by Marc Chagall in 1964 evoking some of the most famous operas and ballets of the repertoire. This painting proved controversial, with many people feeling Chagall's work clashed with the style of the rest of the theatre. It was also installed directly onto the old mural, destroying it. The work surrounds a central chandelier, which weighs over six tons.

The Opera Garnier is open for visitors who wish to see this magnificent building.

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