Built by Charles Garnier, the theatre was inaugurated in 1875. The Palais Garnier stage is the deepest in the world: 26 meters that can be doubled by opening the wings on to the foyer. It is the most imposing of auditoriums and the most prestigious of theatres with the great staircase, the main foyer, the famous ceiling painted by Chagall in 1964, etc.
NUREYEV AND THE PARIS OPERA
The Kirov ballet danced here for two weeks in May 1961. Nureyev appeared for the first time in the Shades scene from the third act of "La Bayadère". Having chosen political asylum, Nureyev was not able to appear at the Paris Opera for several years due to protests from the Soviet authorities. It was not until the 17th November 1966, that he returned with Margot Fonteyn, invited by the "Le Figaro" newspaper who had rented the auditorium to celebrate the centenary of the daily paper. Following the autumn of 1967, he became a regular guest on the Parisian stage. In 1981, he was invited to restage his production of "Don Quixote". Not long after, he was appointed director of the ballet company.
When Nureyev took over as head of the Paris Opera in 1983, he found a very young troupe, with principal dancers and a corps de ballet ready to follow a daring ballet master who gave them a repertoire by restaging all Petipa's classical ballets, and opened the doors of the Opera Ballet to all the contemporary choreographers. Nureyev put the company on an international standing which continues ten years after his death. All Nureyev's great productions are currently in the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire. It is no secret that "La Bayadère" in which Nureyev made his first appearance as "Solor", was the last great classical ballet that he restaged in 1992, several months before his death. Nureyev had come full circle.