Paris Opera

Last updated

Paris Opera
Opéra national de Paris
Logo - Opera national de Paris.jpg
Logo of the Paris Opera
Type Opera and ballet company
Palais Garnier (top) and Opera Bastille (bottom), today's homes of the Paris Opera. Collage Garnier Bastille.jpg
Palais Garnier (top) and Opéra Bastille (bottom), today's homes of the Paris Opera.

The Paris Opera (French : Opéra de Paris, IPA:  [opeʁa də paʁi] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra, and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, but continued to be known more simply as the Opéra. Classical ballet as it is known today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra national de Paris, it mainly produces operas at its modern 2,723-seat theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and some classical operas at the older 1,979-seat Palais Garnier which opened in 1875. Small scale and contemporary works are also staged in the 500-seat Amphitheatre under the Opéra Bastille.


The company's annual budget is in the order of 200 million euros, of which €100M come from the French state and €70M from box office receipts. [1] With this money, the company runs the two houses and supports a large permanent staff, which includes the orchestra of 170, a chorus of 110 and the corps de ballet of 150. [2]

Each year, the Paris Opera presents about 380 performances of opera, ballet and other concerts, to a total audience of about 800,000 people (of whom 17% come from abroad), with an average seat occupancy rate of 94%. [2] In the 2012–2013 season, the Paris Opera presented 18 opera titles (two in a double bill), 13 ballets, 5 symphonic concerts and two vocal recitals, plus 15 other programmes. The company's training bodies are also active, with 7 concerts from the Atelier Lyrique and 4 programmes from the École de Danse. [3]


The Opera under Louis XIV

Pierre Perrin

The poet Pierre Perrin began thinking and writing about the possibility of French opera in 1655, more than a decade before the official founding of the Paris Opera as an institution. He believed that the prevailing opinion of the time that the French language was fundamentally unmusical was completely incorrect. Seventeenth-century France offered Perrin essentially two types of organization for realizing his vision: a royal academy or a public theater. In 1666 he proposed to the minister Colbert that "the king decree 'the establishment of an Academy of Poetry and Music' whose goal would be to synthesize the French language and French music into an entirely new lyric form." [4]

Even though Perrin's original concept was of an academy devoted to discussions of French opera, the king's intention was in fact a unique hybrid of royal academy and public theatre, with an emphasis on the latter as an institution for performance. [5] On 28 June 1669, Louis XIV signed the Privilège accordé au Sieur Perrin pour l'établissement d'une Académie d'Opéra en musique, & Vers François (Privilege granted to Sir Perrin for the establishment of an Academy of Opera in music, & French Verse). The wording of the privilège , based in part on Perrin's own writings, gave him the exclusive right for 12 years to found anywhere in France academies of opera dedicated to the performance of opera in French. He was free to select business partners of his choice and to set the price of tickets. No one was to have the right of free entry including members of the royal court, and no one else could set up a similar institution. [6] Although it was to be a public theatre, it retained its status as royal academy in which the authority of the king as the primary stakeholder was decisive. The monopoly, originally intended to protect the enterprise from competition during its formative phase, was renewed for subsequent recipients of the privilege up to the early French Revolution. As Victoria Johnson points out, "the Opera was an organization by nature so luxurious and expensive in its productions that its very survival depended on financial protection and privilege." [7]

Perrin converted the Bouteille tennis court, located on the Rue des Fossés de Nesles (now 42 Rue Mazarine), [8] into a rectangular facility with provisions for stage machinery and scenery changes and a capacity of about 1200 spectators. His first opera Pomone with music by Robert Cambert opened on 3 March 1671 and ran for 146 performances. A second work, Les peines et les plaisirs de l'amour, with a libretto by Gabriel Gilbert and music by Cambert, was performed in 1672. [9]

Jean-Baptiste Lully

View of the Salle du Bel-Air Jeu de Paume de Bequet (Bel-Air) - View - VJohnson 2008 p101.jpg
View of the Salle du Bel-Air

Despite this early success, Cambert and two other associates did not hesitate to swindle Perrin, who was imprisoned for debt and forced to concede his privilege on 13 March 1672 to the surintendant of the king's music Jean-Baptiste Lully. The institution was renamed the Académie Royale de Musique and came to be known in France simply as the Opéra. Within one month Lully had convinced the king to expand the privilege by restricting the French and Italian comedians to using two singers rather than six, and six instrumentalists, rather than twelve. Because of legal difficulties Lully could not use the Salle de la Bouteille, and a new theatre was built by Carlo Vigarani at the Bel-Air tennis court on the Rue de Vaugirard. [9] Later, Lully and his successors bitterly negotiated the concession of the privilege, in whole or in part, from the entrepreneurs in the provinces: in 1684 Pierre Gautier bought the authorisation to open a music academy in Marseille, then the towns of Lyon, Rouen, Lille and Bordeaux followed suit in the following years. During Lully's tenure, the only works performed were his own. The first productions were the pastorale Les fêtes de l'Amour et de Bacchus (November 1672) and his first tragedie lyrique called Cadmus et Hermione (27 April 1673). [9]

Vigarani's plan of the Salle du Palais-Royal Theatre du Palais-Royal 1673 - plan - WD Howarth 1997 p149.jpg
Vigarani's plan of the Salle du Palais-Royal

After Molière's death in 1673, his troupe merged with the players at the Théâtre du Marais to form the Théâtre Guénégaud (at the same theatre that had been used by the Académie d'Opéra), and no longer needed the theatre built by Richelieu at his residence the Palais-Royal, near the Louvre. (In 1680 the troupe at the Guénégaud merged again with the players from the Hôtel de Bourgogne forming the Comédie-Française.) [10] Richelieu's theatre had been designed by Jacques Le Mercier and had opened in 1641, and unlike the huge theatre at the Tuileries Palace, which could accommodate 6,000 to 8,000 spectators, was of a size consistent with good acoustics. Lully greatly desired a better theatre and persuaded the king to let him use the one at the Palais-Royal free of charge. The Théâtre du Palais-Royal had been altered in 1660 and 1671, but Lully, with 3,000 livres received from the king, had further changes made by Vigarani in 1674. [10]

The first production in the new theatre was Alceste on 19 January 1674. The opera was bitterly attacked by those enraged at the restrictions that Lully had caused to be placed on the French and Italian comedians. To mitigate the damage, Louis XIV arranged for new works to be premiered at the court, usually at the Chateau Vieux of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This had the further advantage of subsidizing the cost of rehearsals, as well as most of the machinery, sets, and costumes, which were donated to the Opéra for use in Paris. [11] During Lully's time at the Opéra, performances were given all year, except for three weeks at Easter. Regular performances were on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The premieres presented at court were usually during Carnival and were moved to the Palais-Royal after Easter, where the openings were on Thursdays. About two to three new works were mounted each year. In all, thirteen of Lully's tragédie en musique were performed there (see the list of compositions by Jean-Baptiste Lully). [12]

After Lully

Plan of the Palais-Royal in 1679 showing the location of the Paris Opera's theatre (in blue) Plan general du Palais-Royal 1679 (Opera in blue) - Gourret 1985 p42.jpg
Plan of the Palais-Royal in 1679 showing the location of the Paris Opera's theatre (in blue)

After Lully died (in 1687), the number of new works per year almost doubled, since his successors (Pascal Collasse, Henri Desmarets, André Campra, André Cardinal Destouches, and Marin Marais) had greater difficulty sustaining the interest of the public. Revivals of Lully's works were common. French composers at the Opéra generally wrote music to new librettos, which had to be approved by the directors of the company. The Italian practice of preparing new settings of existing librettos was considered controversial and did not become the norm in Paris until around 1760. One of the most important of the new works during this period was an opéra-ballet by Campra called L'Europe galante presented in 1697. [12]


In 1661 Louis XIV, who was a dancer himself and one of the great architects of baroque ballet (the art form which would one day evolve into classical ballet), established the Académie Royale de Danse, intended to codify court and character dances and to certify dance teachers by examination. [13] From 1680 until Lully's death, it was under the direction of the great dancing master Pierre Beauchamp, the man who codified the five positions of the feet. [14] When Lully took over the Opéra in 1672, he and Beauchamp made theatrical ballet an important part of the company's productions. The ballet of that time was merely an extension of the opera, having yet to evolve into an independent form of theatrical art. As it became more important, however, the dance component of the company began to be referred to as the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1713 an associated ballet school was opened, today known as the Paris Opera Ballet School. [15] The Académie Royale de Danse remained separate, and with the fall of the monarchy in 1789 it disappeared. [16]

The company's names after the Revolution

The Theatre des Arts, principal venue of the Paris Opera from 1794 to 1820 Paris Opera - Theatre de l'Opera 1794-1820.jpg
The Théâtre des Arts, principal venue of the Paris Opera from 1794 to 1820
The Palais Garnier, view of the scene Paris Opera interior.jpg
The Palais Garnier, view of the scene

With the French Revolution and the founding of the Republic, the company changed names several times, dropping its association with the royal family (see the List of official company names for details), and in 1794, moved into the Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi (capacity 2800) [17] where it took the name Théâtre des Arts. [18] In 1797, it was renamed the Théâtre de la République et des Arts. [18]

Napoleon took control of the company in 1802 and with the declaration of the French Empire in 1804, renamed the company the Académie Impériale de Musique. [19] With the Restoration in 1814, the company was renamed the Académie Royale de Musique. It became part of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1816. In 1821, the company moved to the Salle Le Peletier, which had a capacity of 1900 spectators and where it remained until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873.

In the second half of the 19th century, with the ascension of Napoleon III in 1851, the name Académie Impériale de Musique was reinstated and after 1870 with the formation of the Third Republic, was changed to Théâtre National de l'Opéra. [17]

In 1875, the institution occupied a new home, the Palais Garnier. [20] Between 1908 and 1914 Henri Benjamin Rabaud conducted at Palais Garnier. Rabaud also composed several works which first premiered at Opéra-Comique, but were later also performed at Palais Garnier. [21]

In 1939, the Opéra was merged with the Opéra-Comique and the company name became Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux. The Opéra-Comique was closed in 1972 with the appointment of Rolf Liebermann as general administrator of the Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris (1973–1980), but in 1976, the Opéra-Comique was restored.

In 1990 the Opéra moved its primary venue to the new Opéra-Bastille, becoming the Opéra de Paris, although it continued to mount productions, primarily ballet, at the Palais Garnier; and the Opéra-Comique regained its autonomy. In 1994 the Opéra de Paris became the Opéra National de Paris. [22] Regardless of all the changes in its "official" name, the company and its theatres were commonly referred to as the Opéra.

List of official company names

DateOfficial nameNotesRef
28 June 1669Académie d'Opéra [23] Perrin granted license by Louis XIV [9]
13 March 1672Académie Royale de Musique Lully granted license by Louis XIV [9]
24 June 1791Opéra Louis XVI flees Paris (21 June) [24]
29 June 1791Académie de Musique Louis XVI returns to Paris (25 June) [24]
17 September 1791Académie Royale de MusiqueRoyal family attends opera (20 September) [24]
15 August 1792Académie de Musique Louis XVI arrested (13 August) [24]
12 August 1793OpéraRatification of the Constitution of 1793 [24]
18 October 1793Opéra National Republican Calendar adopted (24 October) [24]
7 August 1794Théâtre des ArtsOpéra moves to the Salle Montansier [25]
2 February 1797Théâtre de la République et des Arts [25]
24 August 1802Théâtre de l'Opéra [25]
29 June 1804Académie Impériale de Musique Napoleon Bonaparte installs the First French Empire (18 May) [25]
3 April 1814Académie de Musique [25]
5 April 1814Académie Royale de Musique First Restoration (April) [25]
21 March 1815Académie Impériale de Musique Hundred Days of Napoleon (20 March) [25]
9 July 1815Académie Royale de Musique Second Restoration (8 July) [25]
4 August 1830Théâtre de l'Opéra Charles X abdicates (2 August) [25] [26]
10 August 1830Académie Royale de Musique July Monarchy [25] [26]
26 February 1848Théâtre de la Nation Second Republic [25] [26]
29 March 1848Opéra-Théâtre de la Nation [25] [26]
2 September 1850Académie Nationale de Musique [25] [26]
2 December 1852Académie Impériale de Musique Second Empire (Napoleon III) [25] [26]
1 July 1854Théâtre Impérial de l'OpéraSupervision assumed by Imperial Household [27] [25] [26]
4 September 1870Théâtre de l'Opéra Third Republic [26]
17 September 1870Théâtre National de l'Opéra [26] [28]
14 January 1939Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques NationauxOpéra takes control of Opéra-Comique [25]
7 February 1978Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris [25]
2 April 1990Opéra de ParisMove to the Opéra Bastille; Opéra-Comique regains autonomy [25]
5 February 1994Opéra National de Paris [25]

List of venues

TheatreDates usedNotesRef
Salle de la Bouteille 3 March 1671 – 1 April 1672Located on the Rue Mazarine; [29] eventually demolished. [30] [31]
Salle du Bel-Air 10? November 1672 – June 1673Located on the Rue de Vaugirard; also called Jeu de Paume de Béquet; [32] eventually demolished. [32] [33]
Salle du Palais-Royal (1st)16 June 1673 – 6 April 1763Built 1641; altered 1660, 1671, and 1674; [34] destroyed by fire 6 April 1763. [35]
Salle des Tuileries 24 January 1764 – 23 January 1770Remodeled first to a much smaller theatre by Soufflot. [36] [37]
Salle du Palais-Royal (2nd)26 January 1770 – 8 June 1781Destroyed by fire 8 June 1781. [38]
Salle des Menus-Plaisirs 14 August – 23 October 1781Located on the Rue Bergère; former theatre of the Opéra-Comique of the Foire St. Laurent; eventually demolished. [39] [40]
Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin 27 October 1781 – 7 March 1794Built in two months by Samson-Nicholas Lenoir at the request of Marie Antoinette. [39]
Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi 26 July 1794 – 13 February 1820 Montansier's 1793 theatre; street name restored to Rue de Richelieu in 1806; theatre demolished 1820; site now Square Louvois. [41] [18]
Salle Favart (1st)19 April 1820 – 11 May 1821Theatre of the Opéra-Comique on the Place Boieldieu; destroyed by fire on 13–14 January 1838. [42] [17] [43]
Salle Louvois 25 May – 15 June 1821Built in 1791; the company performed there 3 times: 25 May, and 1 and 15 June. [43]
Salle Le Peletier 16 August 1821 – 28 October 1873Built on the Rue Le Peletier as temporary quarters; destroyed by fire 28–29 October 1873. [43]
Salle Ventadour 19 January 1874 – 30 December 1874Shared the theatre with its long-time occupant the Théâtre-Italien until the Palais Garnier was completed. [20] [44]
Palais Garnier 5 January 1875 – 29 June 1936Designed by Charles Garnier; located at the Place de l'Opéra. [20] [44]
Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt 1 August 1936 – 20 November 1936Performed at this theatre while the Palais Garnier was under renovation. [45]
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées 30 November 1936 – 17 February 1937Performed at this theatre while the Palais Garnier was under renovation. [45]
Palais Garnier21 February 1937 – presentReopened at the renovated theatre. [45]
Opéra Bastille 13 July 1989 – presentDesigned by Carlos Ott; the official opening concert was on 13 July 1989 to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution. [22] [46]

List of managing directors

Start dateName [47] Administration
28 June 1669  Pierre Perrin Royal Household
30 March 1672  Jean-Baptiste Lully
27 June 1687  Jean-Nicolas de Francine
30 December 1688 Jean Nicolas de Francine, Hyacinthe de Gauréault Dumont
7 October 1704 Pierre Guyenet
12 December 1712 Jean Nicolas de Francine, Hyacinthe de Gauréault Dumont
8 February 1728  André-Cardinal Destouches
1 June 1730 Maximilien-Claude Gruer
18 August 1731  Claude Lecomte (Opera director) Lebœuf
30 May 1733 Eugène de Thuret
18 March 1744 Jean-François Berger
3 May 1748 Joseph Guénot de Tréfontaine
25 August 1749  Louis-Basile de Bernage, [48] Marquis d'Argenson, then François Rebel
and François Francœur
City of Paris
1754  Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer
1755 Bontemps, Levasseur
13 March 1757  François Rebel, François FrancœurRoyal Household
9 February 1767  Pierre Montan Berton, Jean-Claude Trial
9 November 1769 Pierre Montan Berton, Jean-Claude Trial,
Antoine Dauvergne, Joliveau
City of Paris
18 April 1776 Direction by the Royal CommissionersRoyal Commissioners
18 October 1777  Jacques de Vismes
19 February 1779 City of Paris
19 March 1780 Pierre Montan BertonRoyal Accountant
27 May 1780 Antoine Dauvergne, François-Joseph Gossec
8 April 1790 City of Paris
8 March 1792  Louis-Joseph Francœur, Jacques Cellerier
(under committee headed by J.-J.Leroux)
Paris Commune (French First Republic)
17 September 1793 Committee of the Commune (with François Lays)
1 May 1797 Committee of the Commune
12 September 1799Jacques Devisme (formerly Jacques de Vismes du Valgay),
Joseph Bonet de Treyches
13 March 1800 Jacques Devisme
25 December 1800 Joseph Bonet de Treyches
19 December 1801 Jacques Cellerier
26 November 1802 Prefect Étienne Morel de Chefdeville, then
Joseph Bonet de Treyches as Director
Prefects of the Palace
1 November 1807  Louis-Benoit Picard Imperial Superintendents
3 April 1814 Royal Superintendents
18 January 1816  Denis Pierre Jean Papillon de la Ferté
30 March 1817  Alexandre Étienne Choron
30 October 1819  Giovanni-Battista Viotti
1 November 1821  François-Antoine Habeneck
26 November 1824 Raphaël Duplantys
12 July 1827 Émile Timothée Lubbert
2 March 1831  Louis-Désiré Véron Franchised entrepreneurship
with state subvention
15 August 1835  Henri Duponchel
15 November 1839 Henri Duponchel, Édouard Monnais
1 June 1840 [49] Henri Duponchel, Édouard Monnais, Léon Pillet
1 June 1841 [50] Henri Duponchel, Léon Pillet
October 1841 [51] Léon Pillet
1 August 1847 [52] Léon Pillet, Henri Duponchel, Nestor Roqueplan
24 November 1847 [53] Henri Duponchel, Nestor Roqueplan
21 November 1849  Nestor Roqueplan
1 July 1854 Imperial Household
(Civil List)
11 November 1854  François-Louis Crosnier
1 July 1856  Alphonse Royer
20 December 1862  Émile Perrin
11 April 1866 Franchised entrepreneurship
with state subvention
1 October 1870 State administration
28 October 1870 Society of Artists
with state subvention
9 May 1871 Eugène Garnier
3 July 1871 Émile Perrin
9 July 1871 Hyacinthe Halanzier
1 November 1871 Private entrepreneurship
with state subvention
16 July 1879  Auguste Vaucorbeil
1 December 1884  Eugène Ritt, Pedro Gailhard
1 January 1892  Eugène Bertrand, Édouard Colonne
1 April 1893 Eugène Bertrand, Pedro Gailhard
31 December 1899  Pedro Gailhard
1907 Pedro Gailhard, Pierre Barthélemy Gheusi
1 January 1908  Leimistin Broussan, André Messager
1 January 1915  Jacques Rouché
14 January 1939 State administration:
Réunion des Théâtres
Lyrique Nationaux
 [ fr ]
(Opéra and Opéra-Comique
merged under one
administration, RTLN)
1940 Jacques Rouché (RTLN), Philippe Gaubert (Opéra)
1942 Jacques Rouché (RTLN), Marcel Samuel-Rousseau (Opéra)
21 February 1945 René Gadave (interim administrator)
27 June 1945  Maurice Lehmann (RTLN), Reynaldo Hahn  (Opéra)
12 May 1946  Georges Hirsch (RTLN), Henri Büsser  (Opéra)
17 November 1951 Maurice Lehmann (RTLN), Emmanuelle Bondville (Opéra)
30 September 1955  Jacques Ibert (RTLN), Emmanuelle Bondville (Opéra)
13 April 1956 Georges Hirsch (RTLN), Emmanuelle Bondville (Opéra)
August 1959  A.-M. Julien (RTLN), Emmanuelle Bondville (Opéra)
19 April 1962  Georges Auric (RTLN), Emmanuelle Bondville (Opéra)
September 1968 André Chabaud (interim director)
1 October 1969  René Nicoly
23 May 1971  Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (RTLN),
Bernard Lefort (Opéra)
1 January 1972  Rolf Liebermann (Opéra-Comique closed)
7 February 1978 Théâtre National de
l'Opéra de Paris
31 July 1980 Bernard Lefort
September 1982 Interim committee: Paul Puaux  [ fr ] Jean-Pierre Leclerc  [ fr ],
Alain Lombard, Georges-François Hirsch
1 August 1983  Massimo Bogianckino
24 September 1985 
12 February 1986  Jean-Louis Martinoty
13 July 1989 (Opéra Bastille opens)
1 September 1989  Jean-Albert Cartier
(general administrator of the  Palais Garnier)
2 April 1990  Pierre Bergé (president)Opéra de Paris
(Opéra-Comique reopens)
15 May 1991  Georges-François Hirsch
(general administrator of the Palais Garnier)
1 September 1992  Brigitte Lefèvre
(general administrator of the Palais Garnier)
5 February 1994 Opéra National de Paris
15 February 1994  Jean-Paul Cluzel (inspector general of finances)
1 August 1995  Hugues Gall
September 2004  Gerard Mortier
1 August 2009  Nicolas Joel
1 August 2014  Stéphane Lissner

Other Parisian opera companies and theatres

In the period from 1725 to 1791 there were essentially four public theatres which were permitted in Paris: [36]

In 1762, the Opéra-Comique merged with the Comédie-Italienne.

In 1791, the laws were changed allowing almost anyone to open a public theatre. This led to rapid growth in the number of theatres and companies and complexities in their naming. Theatres might burn down and be rebuilt using the name of an old or new company or patron. Some of the new theatres that appeared during this period include: [54]

After about 1870, the situation was simpler with regard to opera, with primarily the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique in operation. The naming situation became somewhat confusing after the Opéra-Comique's theater (the second Salle Favart) burned on 25 May 1887, since the company began performing in other locations. Companies other than the Opéra producing operas or operettas at various theatres in this period included: [55]

See also

Related Research Articles

Antoine Houdar de la Motte

Antoine Houdar de la Motte was a French author.

Opéra-Comique Opera company in Paris, France

The Opéra-Comique is a Paris opera company, which was founded around 1714 by some of the popular theatres of the Parisian fairs. In 1762 the company was merged with, and for a time took the name of its chief rival the Comédie-Italienne at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and was also called the Théâtre-Italien up to about 1793, when it again became most commonly known as the Opéra-Comique. Today the company's official name is Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique, and its theatre, with a capacity of around 1,248 seats, sometimes referred to as the Salle Favart, is located in Place Boïeldieu, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Palais Garnier, one of the theatres of the Paris Opéra. The musicians and others associated with the Opéra-Comique have made important contributions to operatic history and tradition in France, and to French opera. Its current mission is to reconnect with its history, and discover its unique repertoire, to ensure production and dissemination of operas for the wider public. Mainstays of the repertory at the Opéra-Comique during its history have included the following works which have each been performed more than 1,000 times by the company: Cavalleria Rusticana, Le chalet, La dame blanche, Le domino noir, La fille du régiment, Lakmé, Manon, Mignon, Les noces de Jeannette, Le pré aux clercs, Tosca, La bohème, Werther and Carmen, the last having been performed more than 2,500 times.

Paris Opera Ballet French ballet company

The Paris Opera Ballet is a French ballet company that is an integral part of the Paris Opera. It is the oldest national ballet company, and many European and international ballet companies can trace their origins to it. It is still regarded as one of the four most prominent ballet companies in the world, together with the Royal Ballet in London, the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg.

Ernest Guiraud

Ernest Guiraud was a French composer and music teacher born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is best known for writing the traditional orchestral recitatives used for Bizet's opera Carmen and for Offenbach's opera Les contes d'Hoffmann.

Armide is an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck, set to a libretto by Philippe Quinault. Gluck's fifth production for the Parisian stage and the composer's own favourite among his works, it was first performed on 23 September 1777 by the Académie Royale de Musique in the second Salle du Palais-Royal in Paris.

Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges

Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, French playwright, was born and died in Paris. He was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, often working in collaboration with others.

Salle Le Peletier Theatre of the Paris Opera from 1821 to 1873

The Salle Le Peletier or Lepeletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the garden of the Hôtel de Choiseul on the rue Lepeletier. Due to the many changes in government and management during the theatre's existence, it had a number of different official names, the most important of which were: Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique (1821–1848), Opéra-Théâtre de la Nation (1848–1850), Théâtre de l'Académie Nationale de Musique (1850–1852), Théâtre de l'Académie Impériale de Musique (1852–1854), Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (1854–1870), and Théâtre National de l'Opéra (1870–1873).

<i>Phaëton</i> (Lully)

Phaëton is a tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts by Jean-Baptiste Lully. Philippe Quinault wrote the French libretto after a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It can be read as an allegorical depiction of the punishment awaiting those mortals who dare to raise themselves as high as the "sun".

<i>Colinette à la cour</i>

La double épreuve, ou Colinette à la cour, is a comédie lyrique in three acts written by André Grétry in 1782 to a French libretto by Jean-Baptiste Lourdet de Santerre, based on Charles Simon Favart's Ninette à la cour.

<i>Roland</i> (Piccinni)

Roland is a tragédie lyrique in three acts by the composer Niccolò Piccinni. The opera was a new setting of a libretto written by Philippe Quinault for Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1685, specially adapted for Piccinni by Jean-François Marmontel and based on Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso. The opera was first performed on 27 January 1778 by the Académie Royale de Musique at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal.

Rosine Bloch

Rosine Bloch was a French operatic mezzo-soprano of Jewish descent who had a successful stage career in Europe between 1865 and 1891. She not only possessed a beautiful, warm, and lyrical voice but was also a remarkably beautiful woman physically. Although most of her career was spent performing at the Opéra in Paris, she also appeared in stages in Belgium, Monaco, and England.

Jean-Baptiste Lully Italian-born French composer (1632–1687)

Jean-Baptiste Lully was an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and dancer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered a master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in 1661.

Henri Duponchel

Henri Duponchel was in turn a French architect, interior designer, costume designer, stage designer, stage director, managing director of the Paris Opera, and a silversmith. He has often been confused with Charles-Edmond Duponchel, a contemporary who also lived and worked in Paris.

Désiré Guillaume Édouard Monnais was a French journalist, theater director, playwright and librettist.

Léon Pillet, was a 19th-century French journalist, civil servant, and director of the Paris Opera from 1840 to 1847. A political appointee, he was probably the least successful director of the Paris Opera in the 19th century.

Théâtre du Palais-Royal (rue Saint-Honoré)

The Théâtre du Palais-Royal on the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris was a theatre in the east wing of the Palais-Royal, which opened on 14 January 1641 with a performance of Jean Desmarets' tragicomedy Mirame. The theatre was used by the troupe of Molière from 1660 to 1673 and as an opera house by the Académie Royale de Musique from 1673 to 1763, when it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1770, but again was destroyed by fire in 1781 and not rebuilt.

Théodore Lajarte

Théodore Lajarte was a French musicologist, librarian, and composer.


Frédégonde is an 1895 French opera in five acts with music by Ernest Guiraud, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Paul Dukas and a libretto by Louis Gallet based on Augustin Thierry's Récits des temps mérovingiens [Tales from the time of the Merovingians] (1840).

Gaston Salvayre

Gaston Salvayre, (24 June 1847 in Toulouse – 17 May 1916 in Ramonville-Saint-Agne was a French composer and music critic, who won the prix de Rome for composition in 1872.



  1. "Bernard Stirn – Président du Conseil d'Administration de l'Opéra de Paris", interview by Édouard Brane with the President of the Board of the Opéra, Bernard Stirn  [ fr ], 8 April 2011 (in French)
  2. 1 2 Company profile, Tous à l'Opéra 2012 press release Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine pp. 52, 53 (in French)
  3. Opéra national de Paris website, 2012–2013 season presentation Archived 8 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  4. Johnson (2005) p. 15.
  5. Johnson (2005) p. 22.
  6. Johnson (2005) pp. 98–99.
  7. Johnson (2005) p. 23.
  8. Gourret (1985) p. 17.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Harris-Warrick, Rebecca. "Paris. 2. 1669–1725" in Sadie (1992) 3: 856.
  10. 1 2 Anthony, James R. (2001). "Paris. III. 1600–1723" in Sadie (2001).
  11. La Gorce, Jérôme de (2001). "Lully. (1) Jean-Baptiste Lully. 1. Life" in Sadie (2001).
  12. 1 2 Harris-Warrick, Rebecca (1992). "Paris. 2. 1669–1725" in Sadie (1992) 3: 856–857.
  13. "Académie Royale de Dance, L'" in Craine and Mackrell (2000), p. 1.
  14. Costonis (1992); Astier (1998b).
  15. "Paris Opera Ballet" in Craine and Mackrell (2000), pp. 360–361; Christout (1998), pp. 87–88.
  16. Astier (1998a).
  17. 1 2 3 Charlton, David (1992). "Paris. 4. 1789–1870." in Sadie (1992) 3: 866–867.
  18. 1 2 3 Pitou (1983) 1: 38.
  19. "Book Reviews: Napoléon et l'Opéra: La politique sur la scéne, 1810–1815 by David Chaillou." The English Historical Review122 (496): 486–490 (2007). doi : 10.1093/ehr/cem021.
  20. 1 2 3 Langham Smith, Richard (1992). "Paris. 5. 1870–1902." in Sadie (1992) 3: 874.
  21. Pitou, Spire (1990). The Paris Opera: An Encyclopedia of Operas, Ballets, Composers, and Performers; Growth and Grandeur, 1815-1914; M-Z. Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-27783-2.
  22. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) at the official website (in French). Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  23. Name according to some sources: Académie Royale des Opéra --Powell 2000, p. 3.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pitou (1983) 1: 30–31.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Fontaine 2003, pp. 22 f.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Levin, 2009, p, 382.
  27. Lacombe, Hervé. "The 'machine' and the state" in Charlton (2003), p. 27.
  28. Fontaine 2003, p. 23, gives the date as 12 July 1871.
  29. Pitou (1983) 1: 7.
  30. Bashford, Christina. "Camembert, Robert" in Sadie (1992) 1: 696–698.
  31. Pitou (1983) 1: 9.
  32. 1 2 Rosow, Lois. "Fêtes de l'Amour et de Bacchus, Les" in Sadie (1992) 2: 173.
  33. Pitou (1983) 1: 11–12.
  34. Harris-Warrick, Rebecca. "Paris. 2. 1669–1725" in Sadie (1992) 3: 857.
  35. Pitou (1983) 1: 13, 26.
  36. 1 2 Harris-Warrick, Rebecca. "Paris. 3. 1725–1789" in Sadie (1992) 3: 860–864.
  37. Pitou (1983) 1: 26; Wild (1989), p. 299.
  38. Pitou (1985) 2: 407; Wild (1989), p. 299..
  39. 1 2 Pitou (1983) 1: 30.
  40. Gourret 1985, pp. 81–84
  41. Dickens, Charles (1883). Dickens's Dictionary of Paris, p. 221. London: Macmillan. Full view at Google Books.
  42. Pitou (1983) 1: 56.
  43. 1 2 3 Pitou (1983) 1: 44.
  44. 1 2 Pitou (1983) 1: 60.
  45. 1 2 3 Wolff 1962, p. 561.
  46. Pitt, Charles. "Paris. 6. 20th century" in Sadie (1992) 3: 881.
  47. The information in the list of managing directors is from Fontaine 2003, pp. 22–23, and Levin 2009, p. 383, except as noted.
  48. Charlton 2014.
  49. Levin 2009, p. 382, says Pillet joined Duponchel and Monnais as a co-director on 1 June 1840, and Gerhard 1998, p. 35, says Pillet joined Duponchel without mentioning Monnais. Consistent with this date, Guest 2008, p. 326, mentions that in 1840 Pillet, "as Director of the Opera", sent an emissary to London to negotiate a reappearance of the ballerina Marie Taglioni at the Paris Opera.
  50. Fontaine 2003, p. 23, says Duponchel and Pillet became co-directors on 1 June 1841 (without Monnais). On this date Monnais was appointed to a position as Royal Commissioner (Walton 1898, p. 294). Fontaine, perhaps in error, omits the 1 June 1840 co-directorship of Duponchel, Monnais, and Pillet.
  51. Gerhard 1998, p. 35, says Duponchel retired in October 1841. Fontaine 2003, p. 23, gives the year 1843 for the beginning of Pillet's sole directorship, while Levin 2009, p. 383, gives 1 June 1842.
  52. Levin 2009, p. 383 says Duponchel and Roqueplan joined Pillet as directors on 1 August 1847, while Fontaine says Duponchel and Roqueplan took over as co-directors without Pillet on 31 July 1847.
  53. Fulcher 1987, p. 113, says that Duponchel and Roqueplan took over as directors on 24 November 1847, while Fontaine 2003, p. 23, and Levin 2009, p. 383, only give the month November 1847, and Gerhard 1998, p. 35, says Pillet retired in October 1847.
  54. Charlton, David; Johnson, Janet. "Paris. 4. 1789–1870." in Sadie (1992) 3: 870–873.
  55. Charlton, David; Johnson, Janet. "Paris. 4. 1789–1870." in Sadie (1992) 3: 873–874.

Cited sources

Other sources