Directors, ballet masters, stage directors, choreographers, architects, ... Octave discovers the personalities that have marked the history of the Opera which continues to attract the great names of music and dance.
Charles Garnier was born in Paris in 1825 into a family of blacksmiths and began studying drawing at the Atelier Lebas at the age of thirteen. At seventeen, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and worked as a draughtsman in the architecture studios of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. Awarded the Premier Grand Prix de Rome for architecture in 1848, he spent a formative period in Italy at the Villa Medicis. On his return to France, Charles Garnier was hired by the City of Paris for a number of positions in the 5th and 6th arrondissements. He had few completed projects to his credit before winning the competition to design and build the new Opera in 1861. Charles Garnier worked for fourteen years on the vast project and solicited the help of artist friends, most of whom he had
met at the Beaux-Arts and the Villa Medicis. He would go on to build the gaming rooms and concert hall of the Casino de Monte Carlo (1881), the Cercle de la Librairie (1879), the Casino de Vittel (1885), the Nice Observatory (1888). His final project, built in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel, was the Paris Opera’s set storehouse and workshops on Boulevard Berthier. His published works include À travers les arts, causeries et mélanges (1869), Le Théâtre (1871) and Le Nouvel Opéra (1875). Charles Garnier was made a Member of the Academie des Beaux‑Arts in 1874 and named Grand-Officier of the Legion d’honneur.