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Backstage at the Paris Opera

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Tuesday's installment on the Palais Garnier shows us the wardrobe department preparing to ship Bayadère costumes to Australia, Manuel Legris coaching Fabien Révillion in the Foyer de la Danse, the fish living in the theatre's basement and company class in the cupola.


Merci beaucoup. Thanks for posting. Really a treat to see the reality behind the pictures and stories.

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As I recall, the Palais Garnier was built over a subterranean lake, which undoubtedly made construction difficult. The lake figures in Gaston Leroux's Le Fantôme de l'Opéra.

I have to say that the real thing is nowhere near as grand as the soundstage lake used in the 1943 Claude Rains film. :(

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Oddly enough there was a feature about the fish in a TV programme about Paris on UK TV a couple of months ago. Apparently an enterprising member of staff had gone in for a spot of fish farming in the underground lake. His latest enterprise is bee-keeping on the roof of the Opera and the resultant honey is said to be of exceptionally high quality and much in demand.

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Apparently an enterprising member of staff had gone in for a spot of fish farming in the underground lake.

:( Just goes to show the French do everything with style. If you're going to be a fish farmer, be a fish farmer at the Paris Opera!

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In Thursday's report, we follow Richard Wilk as he prepares for his final performances before retirement, Brigitte Lefèvre as she inspects rehearsals that seem to take place in every available nook and cranny, and Clairemarie Osta and Manuel Legris as they rehearse the "mirror" pas de deux from Onegin, culminating in the ballet's premiere.


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:( Thank you so much for these very interesting clips about the Palais Garnier. It is such a beautiful building. I do not know if you have seen the film of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, but the set was in fact based on the Opera Garnier, including the huge chandalier in the middle of the auditorium.

This brought back a lot of memories of when I worked at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. There was a series produced by the BBC TV, that featured a series of programmes which I think were called "The House"

which were broadcast over quite a long time. It was made prior to the closure for the refurbishment, and included before and after.

Seeing how they shoved the Tutu's into those bags did horrify me, when I think of the care and attention we used to give to our Tutu's, which were packed flat in large square cases. But it looked as if they still used the costume rails with heavy duty covers to protect them.It was a mammoth task as we toured every week and did 7 performances, and the quantity of costumes and assessories was huge. We had our own train, and later huge lorries.

I can remember sitting like the Lady Costumier, hand sewing jewels and decoration on to the Tutu's, which I had made from scratch. Yards and yards of Net, satin, lining and support bone.taped hooked fastening, and

silk safety ties in the skirt.

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There is a tour of the front of house, you can join a conducted tour with a guide, in either french or english, or as an alternative you can go around on your own. This also includes any exhibition on at the time. this costs 7 or 8 euro's. However the interior is extremely dark, so you need good eyesight. It would be wonderful to be able to see backstage, and I would love to see an Etoile's class.

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In the final report we follow the excitement of the audience attending the 'Jeunes Danseurs' program including, most touchingly, an accompanying husband won over to the art form and the parents of Héloïse Bourdon watching their daughter perform the White Swan adagio.


Thanks for these. I think this was my favorite. I don't understand most of the French but am so glad I caught the words of the awed audience member (the woman who brought her husband): "La reve de ma vie."

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