Friday, August 10, 2012

Paris Opera - the Palais Garnier

If you have been following my blogs you might remember how impressed we were with a large cutaway model of the Paris Opera that we saw at the Musee d'Orsay. Now we were going to see the real thing.

We approached the building from the side and even from this angle you can tell it is going to be something special. 

The proscenium which is the high portion above the stage where the curtains and back drops are stored when not down at stage level.

Some person's head at the bottom of the photo that I did not manage to crop. 

The entrance hall at the back of the building. We paid about 9 euros each for the unguided tour. If we had hung around for another 90 minutes we could have been part of a 90 minute tour in English but we were too impatient to wait.

In addition to the architecture, you get to see a bunch of costumes scattered around the place.

This looks quite grand, but it is not 'the staircase'.

It's interesting working your way into the building from the back. It becomes progressively more grand.

Most of the costumes were used in ballet productions.

This costume was made out of what appeared to be sheets of music.

The costumes were protected by a thin gauze that sometimes produced an interesting effect in the photos.

The staircase.


It was a pity that the main curtain was not down. 

Inside the auditorium.

The painting on the roof is by Chagall

There are busts of famous composers scattered all over the place. This one looks like Wagner to me.

Door to one of the boxes that hold six people. 

Roof of a curious eight sided antechamber. 

Four of the walls have mirrors and the reflections of the reflections go on forever.

Nothing prepares you for the overwhelming sight of the Grand Foyer. The phrase 'over the top' does not do this room justice.

Since we couldn't find Saint-Saens's grave at Montparnasse, I was pleased to see this memorial to him. He composed 13 operas.

Roof of the foyer.


The balcony.

View out to the Place de l'Opera in front of the building.  

So back inside for one last look at the opulence and then it is time to leave.

But on the way out we got to see more costumes and these booties. I bet they would cause a sensation down in the Grand Canyon.

The main doors to the front of the building.

If you came in the doors at the main entrance, these statues would be what you saw first. In a way it's a pity we took the tour, since it would have been wonderful to go to a performance here for the first time and get the full effect.

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