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Exhibitions

Inauguration and opening

On July 13, 1989, everything was officially ready for the inauguration of the Opéra Bastille. President François Mitterrand, the Minister of Culture and Communication Jack Lang and the 32 world leaders who had come to participate in the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution mounted the monumental staircase to attend La Nuit d’avant le jour, a concert performance produced by Robert Wilson and conducted by Georges Prêtre. The performance began with La Marseillaise and continued with some of the great arias of French opera performed by Placido Domingo, Barbara Hendricks, Ruggero Raimondi and other opera artists of note. Two of the Paris Opera Ballet’s Étoile dancers, Élisabeth Platel and Manuel Legris, performed the Bacchanale (from Act III, Scene II of Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila) choreographed by Andrew DeGroat and Robert Wilson. 

Le souvenir d'Élisabeth Platel à l'Opéra Bastille
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Programme for La Nuit d’avant le jour:

  • La Marseillaise, Ambroise Thomas version
  • Mephistopheles’ Aria “Le veau d’or est toujours debout”, Faust, by Charles Gounod, Act II, Scene 3 – Ruggero Raimondi and the Paris Opera Chorus
  • Dinorah’s Aria “Ombre légère qui suit mes pas”, Dinorah (Le Pardon de Ploërmel), by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Act II, Scene 3 – June Anderson
  • Athanaël’s Aria “Voila donc la terrible cité”, Thaïs, by Jules Massenet, Act I, 2nd tableau – Alain Fondary
  • Alceste’s Aria “Divinités du Styx”, Alceste, by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Act I, Scene 7 – Shirley Verrett
  • Samson’s Aria “Arrêtez, ô mes frères!”, Samson et Dalila, by Camille Saint-Saëns, Act I, Scene 2 – Placido Domingo and the Paris Opera Chorus
  • “Bacchanale”, choreographed by Andrew DeGroat and Robert Wilson, Samson et Dalila, Camille Saint-Saëns, Act III, Scene 2 – Élisabeth Platel and Manuel Legris
  • Charlotte’s Aria: L’air des lettres, Werther, by Jules Massenet, Act III, Scene 1 – Teresa Berganza
  • Werther’s Aria: “Pourquoi me réveiller”, Werther, by Jules Massenet, Act III, Scene 1 – Alfredo Kraus
  • Herod’s Aria “Vision fugitive et toujours poursuivie”, Hérodiade, by Jules Massenet, Act II, Scene 5 – Jean-Philippe 

La Marseillaise, Ambroise Thomas version

  • Mephistopheles’ Aria “Le veau d’or est toujours debout”, Faust, by Charles Gounod, Act II, Scene 3 – Ruggero Raimondi and the Paris Opera Chorus

    Dinorah’s Aria “Ombre légère qui suit mes pas”, Dinorah (Le Pardon de Ploërmel), by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Act II, Scene 3 – June Anderson

    Athanaël’s Aria “Voila donc la terrible cité”, Thaïs, by Jules Massenet, Act I, 2nd tableau – Alain Fondary

    Alceste’s Aria “Divinités du Styx”, Alceste, by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Act I, Scene 7 – Shirley Verrett

    Samson’s Aria “Arrêtez, ô mes frères!”, Samson et Dalila, by Camille Saint-Saëns, Act I, Scene 2 – Placido Domingo and the Paris Opera Chorus

    “Bacchanale”, choreographed by Andrew DeGroat and Robert Wilson, Samson et Dalila, Camille Saint-Saëns, Act III, Scene 2 – Élisabeth Platel and Manuel Legris

    Charlotte’s Aria: L’air des lettres, Werther, by Jules Massenet, Act III, Scene 1 – Teresa Berganza

    Werther’s Aria: “Pourquoi me réveiller”, Werther, by Jules Massenet, Act III, Scene 1 – Alfredo Kraus

    Herod’s Aria “Vision fugitive et toujours poursuivie”, Hérodiade, by Jules Massenet, Act II, Scene 5 – Jean-Philippe Lafont

    Overture from Carmen by Georges Bizet – the Paris Opera Orchestra

    The final duet of Carmen and Don José, Carmen by Georges Bizet – Tereza Berganza and the Paris Opera Chorus

    Juliette’s Aria “Je veux vivre”, Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Act I, Scene 5 – Barbara Hendricks

    Romeo’s Aria “Lève-toi, soleil!”, Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Act II, Scene 1 – Alfredo Kraus

    Marguerite’s Aria “D’amour d’ardente femme”, La Damnation de Faust by Hector Berlioz, Part 4, Scene 15 – Martine Dupuy

    La Marseillaise, the Paris Opera Chorus and soloists

  • Overture from Carmen by Georges Bizet – the Paris Opera Orchestra
  • The final duet of Carmen and Don José, Carmen by Georges Bizet – Tereza Berganza and the Paris Opera Chorus
  • Juliette’s Aria “Je veux vivre”, Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Act I, Scene 5 – Barbara Hendricks
  • Romeo’s Aria “Lève-toi, soleil!”, Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Act II, Scene 1 – Alfredo Kraus
  • Marguerite’s Aria “D’amour d’ardente femme”, La Damnation de Faust by Hector Berlioz, Part 4, Scene 15 – Martine Dupuy
  • La Marseillaise, the Paris Opera Chorus and soloists

Visite en images de l’Opéra Bastille, reportage du 28 janvier 1989


Équipements et innovations technologiques de l’Opéra Bastille, reportage du 6 juillet 1989


L’Opéra Bastille la veille de l’inauguration, reportage du 12 juillet 1989     


Soirée inaugurale de l’Opéra Bastille, reportage du 13 juillet 1989     


The theatre remained open until July 20, presenting a series of concerts and recitals in the main auditorium and the Amphitheatre. The Opera then closed its doors to complete the remaining work and to pave the way for the relocation of the administrative and technical teams. The Opéra Bastille opened its doors definitively on March 17 1990 with a performance of the first unabridged version of Hector Berlioz’ Les Troyens in a production by Pier Luigi Pizzi with Myung Whun Chung conducting.  

Le jour où l'Opéra Bastille a ouvert ses portes
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Inauguration et ouverture
Inauguration et ouverture 13 images
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