Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Love Opéra House!

As mentioned in a previous post, my hotel was conveniently located quite near the Opéra Garnier aka Opéra de Paris. Inaugurated in 1875, it was known as the Académie Nationale de Musique - Théâtre de l'Opéra, until 1978, when it was renamed Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris.

A rose by any other name and go figure.

Anyhow, although it was supplanted by the Opéra de Bastille in 1989 and renamed the Palais Garnier (after Charles Garnier, the architect who designed it), the Paris Opéra House remains a grande dame of the cultural scene, and now concentrates on dance performances.

Unfortunately, July marked the start of the off-season, so there were no performances for me to catch.

Maybe next time.

In the meantime, enjoy the pics of this grandiose example of NeoClassic opulence.

In the daylight, the imposing Opéra House is truly a sight to behold.

At night, even more so.

Detail of one of the two gilded statues looking down from on high.
There are two groups of these gilded statues on either end 
of the building's rooftop, representing Harmony and Poetry.

This must be Poetry. I think. Waving goodbye to Prose, perhaps.

Oh, bonjour. Apollo, c'est-toi?

There he is again, flanked by Poetry and Music - the lucky chiennes.

One of the multi-figure groups in front. This one is "The Dance," which
was supposedly - and strangely un-French - criticized for "indecency."

The less-scandalous - but more violent - multi-figure group "Lyrical Drama."

Oh, sure, a woman crushing a man 
underfoot gets a free pass...

...but a gaylord with a bit of a wang frolicking 
with his fag hags gets the stink-eye.

This is the inoffensive "Instrumental Music"...

...and last but not the least, 
the no less-boring "Harmony."

Fly high, bronze eagle, fly high.

Walking home from the Galeries Lafayette one Sunday,
I chanced upon assorted couples dancing 
the tango in front of the Opéra House.

It was pretty cool, considering that the Opéra House
now serves primarily as a venue for dance performances.
It was also a reminder for me to learn the tango.

Oh, and interesting bit of trivia, from Wiki:

"During 1896, the falling of one of the counterweights for the grand chandelier resulted in the death of one person. This incident, as well as the underground lake, cellars, along with the other elements of the Opera House, even the building itself, were the inspirations of Gaston Leroux for his classic 1910 gothic novel The Phantom of the Opera"



  1. Oui monsieur!
    I remember the scene when the Phantom made the opera house's main chandelier fall over the spectators.
    I love operas.

  2. bastille opera sucks compared to palais garnier, n'est-ce pas?

  3. Couples dancing the tango in front of the opera house...Cool! Here in Singapore, you'll find Filipinos (DH/househelp, what's the politically correct term?)) dancing the Cha-Cha in front of Ion Mall every Sunday to some protests of the locals.
    The French must love the contrast

  4. @ bien : Oh, the local OFWs dance the Cha-Cha there? I must see that the next time I'm in Singapore. That sounds a whole lot better than the entire Pinay DH community camping in Central in HK every Sunday.

    @ Ternie : I honestly wish I could compare them fairly, but I never got around to entering either house. A shame, really, but if I had to choose, yes, I would choose the older structure over the newer.

    Rich in history and the patina of the ages and all that.

    @ db : I enjoy operas, especially when gigantic chandeliers fall on the patrons.