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.
Born in Paris in 1828 into a family of Italian heritage, Louis Mérante made his debut at an early age on the stage of the Théâtre de Liège. In 1846, he was engaged as a Premier Danseur at the Marseille Opera. Two years later, he came to Paris to perfect his skills under the guidance of Lucien Petipa. He soon succeeded his master in Noble Dancer roles on the stage of the Paris Opera, earning recognition for his performances in Fanny Cerrito’s Gemma (1854) and La Fonti (1855); Joseph Mazilier’s Marco Spada (1857);Lucien Petipa’s Sacountala (1858), Marie Taglioni’s Le Papillon (1860—in which he sang alongside Emma Livry); Pasquale Borri’s L’Étoile de Messine (1861), Néméa ou l’Amour vengé (1864), Diavolina and La Source (1866) by Arthur Saint-Léon. At the age of 54, he was cast in the world premiere production of Lucien Petipa’s Namouna (1882). Louis Mérante was appointed Ballet Master of the Paris Opera in 1853. He was 48 when he choreographed Sylvia (his second work after Gretna Green, which was performed at the Salle Le Peletier in 1873). Although arguably less talented than Arthur Saint‑Léon, Louis Mérante nevertheless proved to be adept at arranging a grand action ballet and preserving academic style. His other choreographic works include Yedda (1879), La Korrigane (1880) and Les Deux Pigeons (1886). As a teacher, he was unanimously respected.