L’Opéra de Charles Garnier, une œuvre d’art total
Gérard Fontaine, photographs by Jean-Pierre Delagarde
« The style I use is my own », Charles Garnier used to say, even if his famous Opéra house has been described as being in the style of Napoleon III. This book, written by a fine connoisseur, Gérard Fontaine, reviews this work of “total art” as enhanced by the adjective one could deem incorrectly adapted. The façade, the large staircase, the grotto of Pythia, the foyer, the different ceilings as well as the back doors and the unfinished Glacier are all explained here in detail. We truly appreciate the exhaustive approach of this relentless cream puff: the 43 elements of the outside statues are described, among them la Peinture by Théodore Gruyère or les Heures du soir by François Truphème. The same for the 80 busts inside dedicated to musicians or music lovers, from Marcel Jambon to Richard Wagner including Rolf Liebermann. There is also a summary of the various marbles, the one from Seravezza, the marble from the Green Alps or the white one from Saint-Béat. We can well understand it took 13 years to complete this construction site and the inauguration (to which Garnier was not even invited) was delayed until 1875, well after the fall of the Second Empire.
Review published in the newsletter #534 - from 22 November 2018 to 28 November 2018