Thursday, 17 January 2008

Academie Francaise de la Musique

Nearly every bus in Paris finds its way near or around this gem. Today is the day I finally walked in the door and entered the beautiful interior of the Opera Garnier.

I arrived too late to take the Paris Walks tour, which my friends told me was excellent, so I toured the monument solo. Secretly, I was glad to be on my own because the building is truly breathtaking on the inside. I would have been a very distracted, and distracting, listener, wanting to dash here and there capturing every detail.

From the marble statuary and steps, the gold gild EVERYWHERE, the ornate paintings on the ceilings, the inlaid wooden floors in the grand hallway, which in itself is more glorious than Versaille's Hall of Mirrors, to the busts paying homage to Gluck and Beethoven, among others, to the opera costumes on display, there was something unbelievable to see in every direction. Oh, and of course, the Chagall painting on the ceiling of the theatre. I can't even image the thrill of actually seeing a performance here. There were even little reproductions from Opera sets from the 1920's and 30's. For visitors lacking funds or unable to get tickets, videorecordings from past performances are shown in the sous-sol, about 4 screenings per day.

So far, I'd say it's the loveliest building in Paris, but you judge for yourself.
This cries "Phantom of the Opera".
The Chagall au plafond.
Detail of the grand staircase.
What a great place to capture in a drawing.
The theatre in gold and red velvet.
The set of Le Coq d'Or in miniature.
From the Rhythme de Valse
Guess the opera- yes, it's from Carmen.
Viewing room in sous-sol.

The opulent great hall.
Detail of grand staircase.
Opera Garnier illuminated at night.

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