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Opera National de Paris - Opera Bastille

The Opera National de Paris Bastille is also known as L'Opéra de la Bastille or just as the Opera Bastille and is a reasonably new building that is located in the 12th Arrondissement of Paris.

It was in 1968 that the idea for a new opera house in Paris first came about through a group of people including the composer Pierre Boulez as they belived there was a need for a new 'popular' theatre.

Their report inspired the French President, Francois Mitterrand, to sponsor a competition to build a new opera house as he wanted it to become a 'modern and popular' place in order to share classical music with the masses, so he created the Opera Bastille Public Establishment competition to select an architect for the new building.

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Opera National de Paris - Bastille

There were around 756 entries and in the November of 1983 the competition winner was announced and it was actually won by an unknown architect called Carlos Ott, who was a Uruguayan that lived in Canada.

The site chosen for the new building was the old Paris Bastille train station, which opened in 1859 and closed in December 1969, but where art exhibitions were held afterwards.

It was demolished in 1984 to make way for the new Opera Bastille that was supposed to take the place of the Opera Garnier, but the Opera Garnier still holds ballets and operas.

The new opera building was inaugurated on 13th July 1989, the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, where they held a gala concert conducted by Georges Pretre and featured singers such as Teresa Berganza and Placido Domingo.  However, it did not see its first opera performance until 17th March 1990.

The Opera Bastille was designed with 2,723 seats in such a way that everyone has a great view of the stage without any obstructions and the building itself is characterised by the transparency of its facades and the utilisation of the same materials inside and out.

The backstage facilities are of course very modern and allow crews to roll entire sets off and on intact, however, many people feel that the acoustics are disappointing when you compare them to other opera houses.

Address & Contact Details:

Opéra National de Paris - L'Opéra de la Bastille
2bis Place de la Bastille

Telephone: 1 40 01 80 52

Opera National de Paris

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