Palais Garnier, Paris
In the tradition of Italian theatre, the horseshoe-shaped “French” auditorium, so-called for the way the seats are arranged according to their category, was designed for the audience to see and to be seen. Its metallic structure, hidden by marble, stucco, velvet and gilding, supports the weight of the 8-ton bronze and crystal chandelier with its 340 lights. The house curtain was created by theatrical painters Auguste Rube (1817-1899) and Philippe Chaperon (1823-1906), following Charles Garnier’s instructions. The curtain was replaced by an identical one in both 1951 and 1996. The ceiling painted by Marc Chagall and commissioned by the Minister of Culture André Malraux was inaugurated on September 23, 1964. At the end of a long gallery is the Rotunde du Glacier, a fresh and bright rotunda with a ceiling painted by Clairin (1843-1919) and featuring dancing bacchantes and fauna, along with tapestries illustrating different refreshments as well as fishing and hunting. Completed after the opening of the Palais Garnier, this salon evokes the aesthetic of the Belle Époque.