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I can't wait to hear more about this strange image. I looked into Ivor Guest's Paris Opera Ballet and found the following about this period:

the upkeep of the Opera at the Palais Garnier had become ruinously costly, and in fixing his financial priorities [Director Pedro] Gailhard deliberately starved the ballet, concentrating almost exclusively on the opera.

... The ballet company was disgracefully underprivileged. While the stars of the opera successfully demanded higher salaries, ... the dancers had to make do on a budget that had stayed static for years. .... [T]he ballet repertory continued to dwindle. In 1894 it suffered a shattering blow when the scenery store in Rue Richer was destroyed by fire. The sets and costumes for all but two ballets were lost, and of the fifteen works chosen to be restored, fourteen were operas.

Although the company imported a star, Carlotta Zambelli, from La Scala, no new work was created for her for a number of years. Guest concludes:

The combined effect of an impoverished repertory and the eclipse of the male dancer had brought French ballet to an abysmal level of decadence. [The POB was "impervious" to what was going on in London, Copenhagen, and St. Petersburg.] In its lackluster isolation it was like a sleeping beauty, clad in the faded robes of yesteryear, waiting for the kiss of her prince to waken her into life again.

Poor Mlles. Meunier, Keller, Sirede, and Mante. :wallbash:

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perhaps Estelle and others know something of these names - S. Mante was, i believe, the sister of the more prominent Louise M. but i can't even say this for certain.

all i know of this card, which i acquired as a single item, from a seller who identified little about it, is that it was produced before 1904 and probably after the early 1890s.

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:thumbsup:[Thank you for the fascinating history of the period in which this postcard originated, the story behind the making and colouring of photographs is equally interesting, I had an elderley Aunt, who worked in a Photography Studio, and actually was involved in the colouring of pictures such as this. They were originally black and white or sepia, then hand painted in the studio with water colours, by Artists.

Back to the status of the Opera over the Ballet at the Paris Opera, the same occured at the Royal Opera House, in London during the 1960's, when the Ballet. was certainly the poor relation The Opera were most definately more privaliged, with better wages, touring allowance, funding etc. That was until the Unions spoke up for fair treatment for the Ballet.

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