“In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came
That voice which calls to me
And speaks my name
And do I dream again
For now I find
The Phantom of the Opera is there
Inside my mind….”
I’m a huge fan of the Phantom of the Opera, both novel and the play. The songs especially, so imagine my surprise when I found out that Palais Garnier is the setting for this story. I cannot I believe I miss such small fact. But anyway, it is the architecture and the detailed ornamentation of each rooms that had me enthralled with the opera house.
The Palais Garnier, known commonly the Paris Opéra, is a 1,600-seat opera house on the Place de l’Opéra in Paris, France. An opulent building designed by Charles Garnier in the Neo-Baroque, it is a Parisian icon on par with the Eiffel Tower. The beauty of the place is admired throughout the world and is regarded as one of the architectural masterpieces of its time. The style is considered as Second-Empire, Beaux-Arts style, with use of axial symmetry in plan, and its exterior ornamentation with a heavy influence of Neo-Baroque elements.
The famous opera also served as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular 1986 musical.
The auditorium has a traditional Italian horseshoe shape where the canvas house curtain was painted to represent a draped curtain, complete with tassels and braid.
The opera house features a large, grand staircase of white marble with a balustrade of red and green marble, which divides into two divergent flights of stairs that lead to the Grand Foyer. The pedestals of the staircase are decorated with female torchères.
The interior consists of entwining corridors, stairwells and alcoves which allow the audience to socialize and explore during the intermission. The interior is lavishly decorated in true baroque fashion with velvet, gold leaf and figures of nymphs and cherubim abounding in the area.
The ceiling also features a notable element of the opera, a controversial painting by Marc Chagall which surrounds the central chandelier. Although the modern style of the painting may contradict the Baroque elegance of the entire opera, it is still quite a beauty to look at. The ceiling was originally painted by Jules Eugène Lenepveu. The current painting depicts scenes from operas by 14 composers – Mussorgsky, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Adam, Bizet, Verdi, Beethoven, and Gluck.
The main foyer consists of a hall which stands at 18 meters in height, 154 meters length and 13 meters width which was restored in 2004. Its ceiling was painted by Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry and represents various moments in the history of music. The foyer opens at each end of which are the Salon de la Lune and Salon du Soleil.
The Palais is decorated with elaborate multicolored marble friezes, columns, and statuary, many of which make references to Greek deities. Bronze busts of many of the great composers, Mozart, Rossini, Daniel Auber, Beethoven, Meyerbeer, Fromental Halévy, Spontini, and Philippe Quinault adorned the columns of the theatre’s front façade
The sculptural roof group, Apollo, Poetry, and Music, was the work of Aimé Millet while the two gilded figural groups Harmony and Poetry were both designed by Charles Gumery, and the two smaller bronze Pegasus figures at either end of the gable are from Eugène-Louis Lequesne.
Paris’ elegance and opulence is just on the whole other level. Is it wrong if I had Iggy Azalea’s song “Fancy” playing in my mind as I stroll around the city?