Palais Garnier

Paris
Location

Palais Garnier

In 1661, Louis XIV established the Royal Danse Academy which aimed to shape elite artists and to codify the choreographic art. The famous French composer Lully was one of its very first directors and produced for the academy over twenty compositions, notably Cadmus and Hermione (1673) considered to be the first French opera.

In 1847, Giuseppe Verdi wrote his first opera for the Royal Academy of Music, trying his hands on the genre of Grand opéra. The mitigated success of Jerusalem, for which the performers were held accountant, did not prevent him from writing The Sicilian Vespers (1855) and Don Carlos (1867). Verdi always maintained an ambiguous relation with the Opéra de Paris: always flattered when he was commissioned a composition, he nevertheless fretted about the demands from what he called “ the great music shop”.

Richard Wagner’s entry at the Palais Garnier in 1861 certainly did not go unnoticed. The premiere of Tannhaüser created a storm in the audience that built up into a second Battle of Hernani. The administration had to cancel any further performances and Wagner abruptly left Paris. As he defended Wagner, Baudelaire wrote: “Be it as it may, the idea is born, the gap has been formed and that is essential.

It is only in 1990 that the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier merged in order to create the institution : Opéra de Paris. In March of the same year, parting from its opera and ballet tradition, the first lyrical performance was given: Herctor Berlioz’s The Trojans, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung.