The Paris Opera is one of the world’s greatest opera and ballet houses. Founded more than three centuries ago by Louis XIV, it possesses two theatres, the Palais Garnier (1875) and the Opéra Bastille (1989). Each season cements the rich historical tradition and plays host to ta plethora of stars. This week’s blog is about a few of the amazing upcoming winter productions taking place in the newly announced 2020-2021 season.
The Paris opera dates back to the period of the Second Empire. The opulent and flamboyant design corresponds to the era perfectly. The Paris Opéra dates back to the reign of Louis XIV and the founding in 1669 of the Académie d’Opéra. The King granted to the poet Pierre Perrin the privilege to present operatic productions, which combined an Italianate style of music with French verse. The iconic Palais Garnier has been called “probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré Coeur Basilica.” This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel’s subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular 1986 musical of the same name!
From prima donna to stage-hand, the Opera House was governed by intrigue and rumour; everyone jostling for position, defending their own territory and scrabbling for new. At the time in which the novel is set, the Opera House boasted over fifteen hundred employees and had its own stables of white horses for the opera troupe underneath the forecourt. Even today, it employs over a thousand people and contains two permanent ballet schools within the building.
Opéra National De Paris , also known as Palais Garnier, was formerly Académie Nationale de Musique, a Parisian opera house designed by Charles Garnier (who won a competition to design it).The Paris Opéra received its world-renowned edifice owing to Napoleon III, who commissioned the building of a majestic opera house at the top of the grand, new thoroughfare appropriately named Avenue de l’Opéra. The building, considered one of the masterpieces of the Second Empire style, was begun in 1861 and opened with an orchestral concert on Jan. 5, 1875. The first opera performed there was Fromental Halévy’s work La Juive on Jan. 8, 1875. A second Parisian opera house, the Opéra Bastille, was inaugurated in 1989. Both operate under the direction of the Opéra National de Paris. L’Opera Bastille is in Place de la Bastille in the 11th arrondissement on the eastern side of Paris. The project was initiated in 1982 by president François Mitterrand who wanted a modern and popular opera, to give a lighter feel to the programme of the l’Opera Garnier. It was built by architect Carlos Ott, winner of an international competition to which over 1700 architects submitted plans. Built on the site of the former Paris-Bastille railway station (which opened in 1859) it was inaugurated on the 13th July 1989 on the Bicentenary of the French Revolution.
2020- 2021 Season.
L’Opéra National de Paris, recently announced the exciting programme for its 2020– 2021 season, which opens in September and here are some of the many opera and classical recital highlights! We are focussing on the winter 2020 performances and will create another blog for 2021. Here are some of the highlights:
The Ring Festival
Comprising the four operas which make up Wagner’s epic masterpiece, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, more than 15 unforgettable hours of music and passion. This amazing staging of the Ring Cycle is being conducted by Philippe Jordan.
The musical and dramatic power of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung is awe-inspiring, as the epic cycle concludes with the end of the old world of the gods, and the dawn of a new era. The name Götterdämmerung means “Twilight of the Gods” and is the German name for Ragnarok, the end of the world in Nordic mythology. Andreas Schager stars as Siegfried. At Opéra Bastille.
Dates: 13, 17, 21, 28(all at 18.00h)Nov 2020, 6 (14.00h) Dec 2020
Set in a world populated by dwarfs and giants, gods and river-maidens, Wagner’s Das Rheingold establishes the cycle in thrilling fashion, beginning with music that evokes the very dawn of time. At Opéra Bastille.
Dates: 23, 30 (both at 19.30h) Nov 2020.
In Die Walküre, it is human emotion that takes centre stage, with musical highlights including Winterstürme and the Ride of the Valkyrie. Wotan had fathered twin children with a mortal woman, a male (called Siegmund) and a female (called Sieglinde). Separated early, the twins are now young adults. At Opéra Bastille.
Dates: 24( 18.30h) Nov 2020, 2( 18.30h) Dec 2020
Wagner’s unparalleled orchestral scene-painting reaches new heights as we meet the daring hero Siegfried, the grandson of Wotan, king of the gods. It is the story of a hero, Siegfried, and how he grows into manhood to discover fear and love. Raised by the Nibelung Mime, Siegfried is young, innocent and cocky. With the help of a mysterious Wanderer (who is really Wotan in disguise), Siegfried finds the pieces of his father’s sword, Notung, reforges them and uses the instrument to kill the dragon Fafner who guards the hoard of Nibelung gold that formerly belonged to the Rhinemaidens. Andreas Schager stars as Siegfried with Martina Serafin as Brünnhilde . At Opéra Bastille.
Dates: 26(18.00h) Nov 2020, 4( 18.00h) Dec 2020.
A tale of two young lovers separated by the cruelty of society and fate, Verdi’s La Traviata is one of opera’s most powerful and enduring romances. La Traviata is the story of a lively Parisian courtesan who gives up the man she loves to save his family’s reputation. Perhaps self sacrifice is the greatest theme if this powerful opera. The story is touching not just because it is a story people can believe in but because it is a story people want to believe in! Zuzana Marková stars as Violetta Valéry. At Palais Garnier.
Dates: 24, 27, (both at 19.30h) Nov 2020, 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 17( all at 19.30h), 20 (14.30h) 23( 19.30h) Dec 2020.
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For more information about the flamboyant and magical Opéra National De Paris and to book tickets for any of these events or for a full schedule of all operas being performed in the 2020- 2021 season, please do not hesitate to contact us.