Paris Opera

primary opera and ballet company of France

Paris Opéra or the Opéra National de Paris is the most important opera company of France. It stages performances at the Opéra Bastille and Opéra Garnier in Paris. The theatre is also the home of the Paris Opéra Ballet.

Front of the Palais Garnier under winter sun, photography by Eric Pouhier

Other opera houses in Paris are the Théâtre du Châtelet, Opéra-Comique and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

History change

King Louis XIV allowed Jean-Baptiste Lully to start the Académie Royale de Musique in 1672. This was an organization that included opera, ballet, and music. The ballet company was part of the opera company. Then Louis XIV started the ballet school, called Académie Royale de Danse, in 1661. From 1671 until Lully's death in 1687, the school was directed by the great dancing master Pierre Beauchamp, the man who set down the five positions of the feet.

In 1713 King Louis XIV made the Opera company a state institution. There was a group of professional dancers called Le Ballet de l'Opéra. From that time until 1875 they used lots of theatres, each one of which was destroyed by a fire. All these companies were called Paris Opéra or Opéra de Paris.

On 29 October 1873, the old Paris Opéra, known as the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique, which had been used since 1821, was destroyed by a fire which burned for 27 hours. By 1875 the opera company moved to the new Palais Garnier which was part of the rebuilding of Paris by Emperor Napoleon III.

When the Opéra Bastille was built in 1989 the company chose it as their main theatre.

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