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The Garnier Opera

The Garnier Opera

The Paris Opera is one of the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre, or the Eiffel Tower. This is partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux's 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera.
Another contributing factor is that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, besides being the most expensive, it has been described as the only one that is "unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank." The Paris Opera was built between 1862 and 1875 by Charles Garnier, it is a baroque example of neoclassicism: It has an ornamented facade, monumental stairs and an Italian-type hall with Chagall paintings on the ceiling. Maria Callas and Rudolf Noureev are among the many artists who wrote its history as one of the world's foremost scenic stages for opera and ballet alike.

The building, which is a perfect example of 19th century stage architecture, hides its iron frame under flamboyant decoration. The overall impression is harmonious in spite of the diversity of its inspiration and the temes taken up by Charles Garnier. He personally supervised the integration in the architecture of decorative works entrusted to sculptors, painters and mosaic artists representative, as himself was, of state-sponsored artists.

From 1881 down to the present day, several restoration and modernization programmes have made the theatre increasingly functional without lessening its appeal as a monument: technical progress and the evolution of sets under the influence of "verism". The next step was the building of a modern and popular opera house: Opera Bastille. Since the opening of the Opera Bastille in 1989, the Opéra Garnier is devoted to ballets.

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