Paris Opera Orchestra
© Christian Leiber / Opéra national de Paris
An elite orchestra, directed by the greatest conductors. Soloists continually involved in the daily life of the Paris Opera, the world of high-level teaching and the life of French and international music.
Currently numbering 174 of the world's finest musicians, in an increasingly young age bracket and often recruiting at an international level, the Orchestra takes part in practically all the productions at the Paris Opera's two houses – Garnier and Bastille, covering close to 280 performances per season.
Musicians and teachers
Virtuoso performers, composers or teachers, its musicians have called for the best instruments, trained their own successors and stimulated the imagination of composers.
The constant quality of the Paris Opera Orchestra can perhaps be explained by its involvement in teaching. Numerous musicians from the previous generation, professors at the Paris national conservatory of music (Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris), such as Pierre Thibaud, Pierre Pierlot, Maurice Allard, Guy Deplus and Pierre Doukan, have been responsible for training today's musicians (who today are themselves teachers in the same institution).
Never bound by exclusive contracts, Opera musicians have played an active part in the creation of chamber music ensembles, in the formation of the major Paris symphony orchestras and in the development of radio broadcasting and subsequently records/CDs. Their wide-ranging skills have made them the main players in the musical life of France since classical times. Through their love of the theatre and loyalty to the Orchestra, they have guaranteed the Paris Opera's worldwide reputation today.
- 1672-1687 : Lully signed all the works performed at the Opéra. one creation and two revivals per season.
- XVIIIth century : two to eight creations and ten or so different works per season. Since works were not protected, changes were made to revivals.
- 1752 : The first foreign company was invited with its repertoire: the Bouffons.
- 1774 : The first French version of a foreign work was performed: Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice.
- 1793-1815 : The repertoire prior to Gluck was abandoned. Occasional creations.
- XIXth century : Works commissioned from many renowned foreign composers. The State regulated the pace of creation and exercised censure. 1 to 7 creations and around thirty works per season.
- 1870 : Transfer of the musical collection to the new Garnier Opera House, the first to have a library.
- XXth century : Foreign works join the repertoire, invitations to foreign troupes and performers. Rediscovery of the baroque repertoire, adapted to a modern orchestra. An increasing number of productions in their original language.
- 1987: Performance of Handel's Julius Caesar by the orchestra, playing on original instruments for the first time, conducted by Jean-Claude Malgoire.
- Every season since 1997, the Orchestra performs around thirty works and 1 to 2 new works commissioned by the Opera.