Founding of the Académie royale de Danse (Royal Academy of Dance) by Louis XIV with the purpose of training dancers and formalising choreographic art.
Founding of the Académie royale de Musique (Royal Academy of Music), also known as Académie d'Opéra or Opéra, at the instigation of Colbert. Under the aegis of the crown, this institution brought together a group of singers, the first professional orchestra in France and the Ballet Company of the Académie royale de Danse in order to promote French opera in Paris and in the more important cities in the kingdom. The Académie was not subsidised but funded itself. It wasn't until after the French Revolution that its director received financial help from the state and then only if he accepted certain conditions in exchange. The King granted him one privilege: a monopoly on the performance of musical theatre. From 1672 to 1687, the Académie was directed by Lully who wrote operas for it, including Cadmus and Hermione (1673), considered to be the first French opera in the history of music, Armide (1674) and Alceste (1686). A milestone in the history of French opera, the founding of the Académie royale de Musique was also an important event in the history of Ballet: until then, dance had been considered merely as a courtly entertainment; now it had the public stage at its disposal and dance interludes were incorporated into operas. Little by little, the Ballet became more and more independent until, in the 19th century, the era of the great romantic ballets, it had its own repertoire.
During the two centuries that followed its creation, the Opéra changed its venue eleven times: it resided at la Bouteille (1670-1672), the Jeu de Paume(1672-1673), the Palais-Royal (1673-1763), the Salle des Machines (1764-1770), the second hall of the Palais-Royal (1770-1781), the Menus-Plaisirs (1781), the Porte Saint-Martin (1781-1794), the Salle de la Rue de Richelieu (1794-1820), the Théâtre Louvois (1820), the Salles Favart (1820-1821) and Le Peletier (1821-1873).
The Ballet of the Opéra opened its doors to women dancers for the first time.
Jean-Georges Noverre, now considered to be the founder of modern ballet, introduced ballet d'action to the stage of the Opera: for the first time the corps de ballet was to dance, not merely an interlude, but a narrative ballet in which the story was developed through dance and pantomime.
The king endowed the Opéra with a Ballet School, previously the existing École de l'Académie.
With more than sixty operas to his name, the Italian composer, Gaetano Donizetti, produced La Favorite, his first work for the Paris Opéra. Dom Sébastien, Roi de Portugal was soon to follow in 1843.
Giuseppe Verdi composed his first grand opera, Jérusalem, for the Académie Royale de Musique. Its rather mitigated success, attributed at the time to the mediocrity of the performers, would not prevent Verdi from accepting commissions for Les Vêpres Siciliennes (1855) and Don Carlos (1867). Verdi always had an ambiguous relationship with the Paris Opéra: he never refused the honour of having a work commissioned but he constantly complained about the demands exacted by what he referred to as "la grande Boutique".
As Napoléon III was arriving at the Opéra in his carriage, Italian anarchists employed by Felice Orsini threw bombs into the crowd. The Emperor and his wife escaped by a miracle but eight people were killed and almost five hundred injured in the explosion. The following day, the Emperor made the decision to build a new opera house.
Organisation of an international competition for the building of the new Académie Impériale de Musique et de Danse. 171 architects participated including the thirty-five-year-old and as yet unknown Charles Garnier. His proposed design attempted to remedy what he considered to be the crucial problem for artists of the period: the impossibility of accommodating large audiences. He was proclaimed the winner on May 30th 1861.
The painter and art critic, Émile Perrin, took up the directorship of the Paris Opéra, a post he was to occupy until 1871.
The Salle Le Peletier was burnt down in a fire, which raged for more than twenty-four hours, the causes of which remain unknown to this day. The Opéra was obliged to move to the Salle Ventadour until the new Opéra Garnier had been completed.
Inauguration of the new opera house. Charles Garnier's Palais became the centrepiece of Paris, recently rebuilt by Georges Eugène Haussmann. Napoleon III, who had died two years previously, never saw the magnificent palace he had commissioned. No trees were planted on the avenue leading to the main entrance: passers-by enjoyed an uninterrupted view of the facade, intended as a glittering symbol of imperial power.
As France entered the First World War, Jacques Rouché became director of the Paris Opera, a post he held for over thirty years.
George Balanchine, former dancer with the Ballets russes under Diaghilev, was invited to create a new choreography for the Opéra to Beethoven's Les Créatures de ballet. He fell ill and was unable to complete the commission before he died. He recommended Serge Lifar, also from the Ballets russes, to replace him. The following year, Lifar became ballet master, taking over the company to which he devoted more than thirty years of his life. He created a class for adage or pas de deux giving increased importance to male dancers, no longer there merely as a foil for the ballerinas. His neoclassical style greatly influenced Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart.
The French government decided to merge the Opéra Comique, now in financial difficulties, with the Théâtre National de l'Opéra to form the Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux (Union of National Operatic Theatres). The Opéra Comique did not regain its independence until 1990.
Just after the Second World War, the composer, conductor and music critic, Reynaldo Hahn, was appointed director of the Paris Opéra.
After being artistic director of Radio Zurich, conductor of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Orchestra and director of the Hamburg Opera, the Swiss composer, Rolf Liebermann, was appointed to the direction of the Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux.
Creation of the Opéra Studio, a training centre for opera singers at the Salle Favart. It was to be replaced by the Atelier Lyrique (Operatic Workshop) in 2005.
The Réunion des Opéras Lyriques Nationaux was disbanded to make way for the Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris of which Rolf Liebermann was to be artistic director until 1980.
Judging the scope of the Palais Garnier to be insufficient, President François Mitterand decided to build a new, modern opera house in Paris. A competition was organised for which 1700 architects entered a total of 756 projects
Founding of the state opera company, the Établissement Publique Opéra-Bastille (EPOB). The thirty-seven-year-old Uruguayan architect, Carlos Ott, won the contract to build the new opera house.
First performance of Messaien's Saint François d'Assise, Scènes Franciscaines, an opera in three acts and eight tableaux, at the Palais Garnier, conducted by Seiji Ozawa and directed by Sandro Sequi. Rolf Liebermann had commissioned the work in 1975 and it took Messiaen eight years to compose the libretto and the score.
After an exceptional international career as a dancer, Rudolf Nureyev became Director of Dance at the Paris Opéra. He left after six years but remained the company's principal choreographer. He was responsible for reviving and adapting the ballets of Marius Petipa, including Don Quichotte (1981), Raymonda (1983), Swan Lake (1984), The Nutcracker (1985) and La Bayadère(1992).
Work began on the new opera house.
The School of Dance moved to its current location in Nanterre.
Pierre Bergé, the co-founder and president of the haute couture company Yves Saint-Laurent, became head of the board of directors of the Opéra. He was to organise the inauguration ceremony of the Opéra Bastille.
Inauguration of the Opéra Bastille as part of the bicentenary celebrations of the French Revolution.
The Paris Opéra became the Opéra National de Paris. The change of name indicated its intention to extend its scope beyond the confines of the capital.
Having been general secretary for the Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux, assistant to Rolf Liebermann at the Théâtre National de L'Opéra and the director of Geneva's Grand Théâtre, Hugues R. Gall became director of the Paris Opera.
The choreographer, teacher and former dancer at the Opera Ballet Company, Brigitte Lefèvre became Director of Dance at the Paris Opera. Before taking up this post, she had been principal inspector for dance at the Direction of Music and Dance at the Ministry of Culture and General Administrator, Assistant Director responsible for dance of the Opéra Garnier.
Gerard Mortier, former director of the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels, of the Salzburg Festival and the Ruhrtriennial Festival, was appointed to the head of the Paris Opera.
After serving as Company Secretary at the Théâtre d'Aubervilliers, co-director at the Centre Dramatique national de Nice and the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, director of the Théâtre du Châtelet, general manager of the Orchestre de Paris, director of the Festival International d'Aix-en-Provence and then general manager and artistic director of Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Stéphane Lissner became director of the Opéra national de Paris.