Current Exhibit

OPERATIC GLORIES FROM THE OPERA-COMIQUE (PARIS, 1840-1930):International opera singers in Paris (1840-1930)

What is “opéra comique”? It is a French 'musical genre' alternating sung passages with spoken sections, as opposed to opera, which is entirely sung (e.g. "Carmen" vs. "Tosca"). From its humble inception through a royal decree by King Louis XIV (1714), to its many designations and locations, the Opéra-Comique experienced turbulent times. Two devastating fires destroyed it in 1838 and again in 1887 during a performance of Mignon. The current Opéra-Comique was erected in 1898 on Place Boieldieu. Countless singers performed there in historic performances. Take a look …

  • 1 - Period engraving of the Opéra-Comique or second Salle Favart in its full glory in 1864

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    1 - Period engraving of the Opéra-Comique or second Salle Favart in its full glory in 1864

    After the 1838 fire, a new house was inaugurated in 1840 until another blaze destroyed it again in 1887, killing 84 people. The existing theater was inaugurated in 1898
    After the 1838 fire, a new house was inaugurated in 1840 until another blaze destroyed it again in 1887, killing 84 people. The existing theater was inaugurated in 1898
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    2 - French composer Jules Massenet’s historic piece of ephemera from the second 1887 fire

    Jules Massenet (1842-1912) was one of Opéra-Comique’s most beloved composers. These fragments of the boxes’ wallpapers with annotations in his hand are one-of-a-kind relics from his own collection!
    Jules Massenet (1842-1912) was one of Opéra-Comique’s most beloved composers. These fragments of the boxes’ wallpapers with annotations in his hand are one-of-a-kind relics from his own collection!
    2 - French composer Jules Massenet’s historic piece of ephemera from the second 1887 fire
  • 3 - Duprez, Gilbert and Carolina - Vintage Print

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    3 - Duprez, Gilbert and Carolina - Vintage Print

    French tenor Gilbert Duprez (1806-1896) and daughter soprano Caroline Duprez (1832-1875) posing together in a 19th century print, ca. 1851. Duprez created many roles, while Carolina, died at age 43 of tuberculosis.
    French tenor Gilbert Duprez (1806-1896) and daughter soprano Caroline Duprez (1832-1875) posing together in a 19th century print, ca. 1851. Duprez created many roles, while Carolina, died at age 43 of tuberculosis.
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    4 - Miolan-Carvalho, Caroline

    French soprano Caroline Miolan-Carvalho (1827-1895) for Parisian weekly “Camées artistiques”, posing as an "ingénue" Marguerite (“Faust”).
    French soprano Caroline Miolan-Carvalho (1827-1895) for Parisian weekly “Camées artistiques”, posing as an "ingénue" Marguerite (“Faust”).
    4 - Miolan-Carvalho, Caroline
  • 5 - Belhomme, Hippolyte in Le Postillon de Longjumeau

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    5 - Belhomme, Hippolyte in Le Postillon de Longjumeau

    French bass-baritone Hippolyte Belhomme (1854-1923) as a farcical Biju in Adolphe Adam’s opera « Le Postillon de Longjumeau », Monnaie, Brussels, 1907.
    French bass-baritone Hippolyte Belhomme (1854-1923) as a farcical Biju in Adolphe Adam’s opera « Le Postillon de Longjumeau », Monnaie, Brussels, 1907.