The Dance - Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
The Paris Opera House was commissioned by Napoleon lll in 1861 and designed by Charles Garnier, but its inauguration in 1875 was too late for Napoleon who had died two years previously
In the frieze E for Emperor N for Napoleon
Designed in the very popular Beaux Arts style of the time, it symbolised the opulence of the Second Empire. The exterior is one of the impressive landmarks in Paris with an interior of grand chandeliers, sweeping marble staircases and gilt decoration.
Garnier designed a private turnaround carriageway at the back of the building for Napoleon. He could have arrive securely, leave his carriage to await his return, and come and go as he wished.
The 'Bassin de la Pythie' is situated below the Grand Staircase. Pythia was a high priestess at the Temple of Apollo, Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus - this theatrical entrance flanked on each side by a grand sweeping stairway gives a taste of things to come
The double sided Grand Staircase is made from white Cararra marble with a red and green marble balustrade leading up to the
Auditorium and the Grand Foyer
At the top of the stairs is a beautiful marble arcade which has some exquisite Venetian mosaic work within the arches
At the centre is a vaulted ceiling showing paintings by artist Isadore Pils of Apollo, Minerva, and Orpheus.
two images courtesy wiki
The inauguration in 1875
This sumptuous, breath taking, gilded Grand Foyer, was modelled on the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The domed ceiling was painted by Paul Baudry to represent various moments in the history of music
A close up of the fine details at the bases of the gilt columns
All of the small side foyers are individually decorated, each one having a different but very striking ceiling.
With the opening of Opéra Bastille in 1989 the Palais Garnier lost its role as the main opera house in Paris. It is now the principal home of ballet although it still does host some opera
In 1960 the French Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux controversially commissioned Marc Chagall to repaint the ceiling in the auditorium. Rather than destroy the original painting by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu, Chagall painted his canvass on a removable frame. Twenty years later, however, the original painting by Lenepveu was removed to the Musée d'Orsay where it is now on display.
Chagall's painting celebrates the music of both opera and ballet by 14 different composers. At its centre is the grand chandelier made of bronze and weighing a staggering 7 tonnes.