Opera is the grandest of art forms. Part of the thrill of attending a performance is to sit in a glorious theater built just for that purpose, knowing that the greatest voices of the past and present have been heard there. The most important of these theaters—in Milan, Vienna, London, Paris, Barcelona, and New York—have a distinctive character and history that has profoundly affected the evolution of opera.
Opera expert Fred Plotkin examines these fabled houses, focusing on what makes each of them unique and significant. Using audio and video recordings and illustrations, he evokes the glamour and fascination that surround them, the cities that built them, and the legendary artists who performed on their stages.
Plotkin, author of Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, lectures for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the New York Philharmonic.
The Paris Opera
The flamboyantly gorgeous Palais Garnier is the theater that inevitably springs to mind when you think of opera in Paris, a city that was the opera capital of the world in the 19th century. Every French composer of the day made his name in Paris and the city, with its theaters and conservatories, was an incubator of native-born talent such as Berlioz, Gounod, and Bizet. This remarkable structure occupies a place of honor on the Right Bank, and is a hub from which grand boulevards radiate. The Opéra Garnier became the most important social gathering place in post-royal Paris, and created the gold standard for stage technology that would not be surpassed until well into the 20th century.
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Paris: City of Light
Multiple departure dates throughout 2015
Join us for a special day in Paris where you can enjoy a leisurely pace or pack your time full of activities—it's your choice. Paris offers a rich selection of museums, neighborhoods, boutiques, and restaurants to discover.
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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)