Auditorium, Palais Garnier

The auditorium has a traditional Italian horseshoe shape and can seat 1,979. The stage is the largest in Europe and can accommodate as many as 450 artists. The canvas house curtain was painted to represent a draped curtain, complete with tassels and braid.

In the tradition of Italian theaters, the French-style horseshoe-shaped performance hall, because of the seating arrangement according to category, was designed to see and be seen. Its metal structure, masked by marble, stucco, velvet and gilding, supports the 8 tons weighing bronze and crystal chandelier equipped with 340 lights. The stage curtain was created by the theater painters-decorators Auguste Rubé (1817-1899) and Philippe Chaperon (1823-1906), according to the indications of Charles Garnier. The curtain was replaced in the same way in 1951 then in 1996. The ceiling painted by Marc Chagall and commissioned by the Minister of Culture André Malraux was inaugurated on September 23, 1964.

Located exactly above the vault of the former rotunda of subscribers, the large auditorium is the heart of the palace.

In a horseshoe shape, with four balconies, lodges and five-storey stalls, the place is designed according to the model of Italian theater where visibility is variable. Its dimensional characteristics are impressive: nearly thirty-one meters wide, thirty-two meters deep and twenty meters high. His gauge is approaching two thousand seats, with a little more than one thousand nine hundred seats. This place is dressed in dominant tones of reds and golds.

The ceiling area which surrounds the chandelier was originally painted by Jules Eugène Lenepveu. In 1964 a new ceiling painted by Marc Chagall was installed on a removable frame over the original. It depicts scenes from operas by 14 composers – Mussorgsky, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Adam, Bizet, Verdi, Beethoven, and Gluck. Although praised by some, others feel Chagall’s work creates “a false note in Garnier’s carefully orchestrated interior.”

Large clearances provide access to the five levels with mosaic floors. All doors are mahogany and have a porthole.

The orchestra (formerly parterre and parquet)
The fourteen rows of seats in the orchestra are located on either side of a central aisle, the armchairs are in black wood and dressed in velvet, their padded backs are covered with an elegant bronze easel bearing the number of the armchair. At this level are the baths which are lodges on the ground floor.

The balcony (formerly called amphitheater)
In eight rows, the armchairs, identical to the previous ones, are clearly overhanging those of the orchestra. Not only do they have a clear view of the stage, but they are also in the ideal location of the main axis, the “point of view”, from which the decorator draws the cutting and lines of flight to establish the plans of the scenery he establishes. Then, other lines are used at very high places, lateral and the first row of orchestra, according to the different rules of the scenographic perspective. The privileged spectators of the Balcony can see a setting and a staging as they were thought by the team of creators. The point of view was formerly called the

The lodges
The boxes and backs, and their seats and benches are dressed in velvet and their partitions, damask and hangings. All the furnishing materials have a subtle play of crimson shades. The most famous and mysterious lodge has a gateway where (since 2011) is a bronze plaque indicating “Lodge of the Phantom of the Opera”; it is located at the level of the first lodges. This famous box bears the no. 5 proscenium lodges overlook the orchestra pit in the arc Doubleau forming the proscenium.

For centuries, it was customary to have ten lodges directly on the stage, for the authors, composers and other actors of the show. Garnier had not been able to remove this obligation from his plans. In 1916, director Jacques Rouché announced his intention to suppress and redevelop these sites in order to install the control rooms and command posts, which was done in 1917. Immediately, Marie Garnier, widow of the architect, s’ indignera by writing to the newspaper Le Figaro: “We dare to attack the beautiful work of Charles Garnier, without fear of destroying this admirable acoustics, without worrying about the art with which the room was connected to the scene by these boxes” These locations, d a width of 1.70 meters, are used to reinforce the access to the projectors installed on the bridge and the frames forming the mobile frame.

The fourth side boxes are stalls, surmounted at the back by tiered armchairs. In front, it is the amphitheater or more familiarly chicken coop or paradise.

The fifth boxes, front and side, are places with very limited visibility. In the past, some of these so-called blind places were mainly intended for music lovers, composers and Conservatoire students who could follow the music with or without score.

The two domes of the ceiling
The first dome of the ceiling of the great hall is due to the brush of the favorite painter of Napoleon III, Jules Eugène Lenepveu, Grand Prix of Rome in 1847 and director of the Villa Medici in Rome. She had been restored twice during the first half of the xx th century. This original painting has 63 figures representing The muses and the hours of the day and the night, made on twenty-four copper panels, bolted to the steel structure of the upper floor. This all-metal design is due to both security and acoustics. Eugène Lenepveu had taken a very particular care in manufacturing the pigments and bases used in his painting himself in order to avoid lead, which caused a strong oxidation of the colors in contact with the emanations of the lighting gas. The circumference of this arch is 53.60 meters and 18.80 meters for the central part, which was formerly equipped with an opening sun grille, leaving the passage to raise the luminaire in the upper room known as the “chandelier room”.. This ventilation grid was removed in 1964.

The work of Lenepveu, still exists, is hidden since 1964 by a removable polyester structure which was pasted the decor designed by Marc Chagall. This arrangement thus leaves open the possibility of revising this work at a later date. A final model, developed by Lenepveu before execution at the scale of the room, is visible in the museum of the Palais Garnier, and gives a general idea of the ceiling that adorned the theater.

The second dome is designed in 1964 by Marc Chagall and at the invitation of his friend André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs then c. The new ceiling evokes, in five brightly colored parts, the major milestones and works representative of the history of the arts of the Opera and the dance as well as fourteen remarkable composers of the lyrical and choreographic arts of the repertoire. Composed of twelve side panels and a central circular panel, it is designed as an Olympus. The main panel is”Divided into five zones in which a dominant color unites in the same evocation two works by two different composers while the complementary colors allow transitions and the interpenetration of motifs”. The painting was executed by Roland Bierge according to Chagall’s model.

Chagall performs the work between January and August 1963, the painter working first at the Gobelins museum, then in his studio in Meudon. The new official ceiling is made of January at June 1964in a workshop of the Manufacture des Gobelins. Masking the work of Lenepveu and juxtaposing an anachronistic work to the decorative elements of origin, he provokes controversy even before its inauguration. September 24, 1964. Critics criticize the aesthetic incoherence of placing the ceiling in the colors too gaudy in the middle of the moldings and gilding typical of neoclassical architecture, and consider that it reflects the disregard of the power of the time to the art of the Second Empire.

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The big chandelier
The height of the chandelier, 8 meters, is that of a two-storey house. Bronze and golden crystal, it has been installed and adjusted in 1874 with 340 nozzles operating at the gas lighting. Partially electrified since 1881, it covers eight crowns 320 light bulbs. A festoon of pendants surrounds it, raised from place to place by lyre-shaped motifs. The drawing is by Charles Garnier and the cast was made in the workshops of Lacarrière and Delatour. It was restored in 1989.

This element, which is essential to the harmony and good lighting of the room, almost never came into being. During the long period necessary for its elaboration – shape, size, technical and decorative details – by Garnier, several voices are heard claiming that the luster is uninteresting, that it may spoil the acoustics and prevent the vision from too many seats and lodges. The quarrel has been so long and so long that Garnier has had to install – temporarily – candelabra on the columns, just as Victor Louis (with candles) did in the room, without chandelier, of the Grand Theater from Bordeaux, by adding hundreds of crown candles to the cornice of the entablature supporting the vault of the dome ceiling. Finally, the project manager must demonstrate all his power of persuasion and even defend the integrity of his project which ultimately wins the adhesion.

If the Opera House is not only illuminated by this huge creation of crystal and light, weighing more than eight tons for five meters in diameter, it undeniably contributes to the atmosphere and magic of places. After its electrification, the use is made safer and requires less maintenance and therefore manipulation. The maintenance of the chandelier was carried out until the 1950s by hoisting it in a space specially planned above the ceiling of Lenepveu, where an opening gate opened in a voluminous metal cylinder called fireplace chandelier, forming part of one of the systems of high ventilation up to the metal skylight of the large outdoor dome. Later, the chandelier will be maneuvered down the theater for its maintenance after modification of the old lifting system with winches and counterweights.

“Urban legend” on the fall of the chandelier
The evening of May 20, 1896, Breaking a counterweight led to the fall of the chandelier on the audience as if giving a performance of Faust by Gounod. It is actually the fall of a counterweight and not the chandelier itself, during a performance of the opera Hellé (and not Faust ) of Étienne-Joseph Floquet. To understand this accident, it should be known that the chandelier, a weight of 8.16 tons is retained by eight large steel cables, several winches and counterweights. One of these 750 kg counterweights crossed the ceiling and the floor of the fifth deserted boxes in a free fall and fell on places 11 and 13Fourth lodges where a very modest lady, passionate about opera, who died on the spot. The chandelier, it has not moved. Many were injured, some of them as a result of the panic. This exceptional event inspired Gaston Leroux for an episode of the Phantom of the Opera, published in 1910; it is also found in the ballet of the same name by Marcel Landowski created with a choreography by Roland Petit.

The entablature
The entablature of the ceiling of the hall has a coronation of lights formed by two hundred and fifty globes of frosted glass, the pearl necklace, surmounting the diamond girdle, composed of four series of fifteen round lanterns and four oval faceted lanterns. These three hundred and fourteen light sources were able, at the time of the lighting gas, to benefit from an ingenious direct and individual evacuation of the heat and vapors produced by this energy. At the opening of the new Paris Opera in 1875 and as in all other theaters in Europe, the energy of the lighting gas did not allow darkness in the room; it could only be put on the backburner, in blueduring the whole performance and then be restored to full strength during intermissions and at the end of the show.

The orchestra pit
She has received various transformations since its creation. Part of its advance in the room was reduced when the septum of the front stage was opened, allowing a notable enlargement of its surface by the removal of the three central cubicles (blower’s hole, lighting, leader of singing) and of the lighting ramp. These changes take its current size to about 18 meters in length and nine meters in width including four under the stage at different heights. Musicians can perform easily in large symphony orchestras. This orchestra pit can, depending on the needs, be covered with a mobile floor that transforms the stage into a vast proscenium preceding the stage on which the musicians are staged by being surrounded by adjustable panels, in order to obtain an acoustic quality adapted to the works during the concerts.

The forefront
This is the progress visible by the public, in front of the closed stage curtain. Its depth is slightly convex towards the orchestra pit.

It had been formerly lined by a lighting ramp, in the center of which were located three facilities: a hole for the blower, another for the stage manager and that of the lighting chief who commanded his team the light changes through the system consisting of several hundred gas valves and pipes, named organ lighting lighting by allusion to the musical instrument comprising a forest of metal pipes. Today, the lighting control room and its electronic desks are located in the auditorium at the rear of the third front boxes.

The stage frame and the curtain
The opening of the stage frame is sixteen meters in width, where other large theaters usually have a maximum opening of twelve meters, and ten meters in height.

The stage curtain was painted trompe-l’oeil in 1874 by Emile Rubé and Philippe Chaperon, also signatories of the lambrequin. He prepares the spectator’s gaze for the illusion of what essentially any theatrical performance is; his heavy red velvet drape adorned with golden trimmings is surmounted by the imposing metal lambrequin with a cartouche in the center. A motto appears, chosen by Garnier himself, and the mention “ANNO 1669” recalls the time of the creation of the Royal Academy of Music and Dance under the reign of King Louis XIV, great promoter of the arts and him -even recognized dancer and musician.

This painted 14,50 m by 17,50 m curtain was redone on canvas in 1952 by the painter-decorator Emile Bertin and restored in 1996 by the painter-decorator Silvano Mattei.

Palais Garnier
The Opera Garnier, or Palace Garnier, is a national theater and lyrical choreography vocation and a major element of heritage 9 th arrondissement of Paris and the capital. It is located Place de l’Opera, at the north end of the Avenue de l’Opera and at the crossroads of many roads. It is accessible by metro (Opera station), by the RER (line A, Auber station) and by bus. The building stands out as a monument particularly representative of eclectic architectureand historicist style of the second half of the xix th century. On a conception of the architect Charles Garnier retained following a competition, its construction, decided by Napoleon III as part of the transformations of Paris conducted by the prefect Haussmann and interrupted by the war of 1870, was resumed at the beginning of the Third Republic, after the destruction by fire of the opera Le Peletier in 1873. The building is inaugurated on January 5, 1875by President MacMahon in the third Republic.

Designed by the architect Charles Garnier in 1875, the Palais Garnier houses a prestigious auditorium and public spaces (grand foyer, rotunda of subscribers, salons), a library-museum as well as several rehearsal studios and workshops.

The “Italian style” theater, whose ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall in 1964, can accommodate 2054 spectators. With nearly 480,000 visitors a year, it is one of the most visited monuments in Paris. It is classified as a historical monument since 1923.

This opera was called “Paris Opera” until 1989, when the opening of the Opera Bastille, also opera in Paris, influenced its name. It is now designated by the only name of its architect: “Opera Garnier” or “Palais Garnier”. The two operas are now grouped together in the public industrial and commercial establishment “Opéra national de Paris”, a French public institution whose mission is to implement the performance of lyric or ballet performances, of high quality. artistic. The opera Garnier has been classified as a historical monument since October 16, 1923.