What’s the history of the Paris Opera?

As one of the most famous monuments of the City of Lights, the Paris Opera is a must for people who are sensitive to art and dance. Would you like to know everything about the history of the Paris Opera, from the past to the present? Continue your journey in this article.

The Paris Opera, in the beginning

First of all, you should know that the Opéra Bastille and the “Palais Garnier” or “Opéra Garnier” form the Paris Opera. Today, the term “Paris Opera” refers mainly to the Palais Garnier.

When you think about the history of the Paris Opera, you should know that in the very beginning, the Paris Opera was built after a competition that would designate the architect who would be in charge of its construction. After a long battle, out of 171 candidates, it was the young Charles Garnier who was selected to do so. He was only 35 years old at the time and had only one building to his credit, but his consistency and responsiveness made him a perfect candidate for the jury, who declared him the winner of the competition in 1861. The first phase of the work was launched on 27 August 1861, with the earthworks. In 1862, the first stone was laid and a few months later the first exposed stone; in 1863 the first floor was built. At that time, the objective was the 1867 Universal Exhibition.

The Paris Opera over time

In 1870, while the construction site to build the Paris Opera was in full swing, it was halted following the war against Prussia and the fall of Napoleon III. The Opera became a reserve for the army. It was only in 1873 that work resumed, following the fire in the Salle Pelletier. The new republic at the time wanted a place of spectacle and gathering for people who wanted to forget a little bit about the war and its ravages. And so the Paris Opera was inaugurated in 1875. On the opening night, the programme was not just one show, but a whole assortment of performances in the Opera’s many halls.

One of the anecdotes that everyone at the time knew and that history will always remember is that during this famous opening gala, the architect who built it was obliged to buy his entrance ticket because he had not received an invitation.

The Paris Opera, today

Today, the Paris Opera is under the direction of Stéphane Lissner, appointed by the Minister of Culture for a term of six (6) years. Within the Paris Opera, the dance companies reside in the Opéra Bastille. Even today, many dance and art performances of all kinds, including ballet, are presented and staged there.

Why visit the Louvre Museum?
What are the essential works of Charles Baudelaire?