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I was reading Phantom of the Opera recently, and one of the main characters in the book actually turns out to be the Opera House itself. From the descriptions in the book, I was interested to see how accurate the book was to the actual building, so I had a look on the web. It turns out to be extremely accurate. There is a lake under the building, as well as stables, tunnels, and from more modern times, air-raid sheltars.
My eyes nearly exploded at the beauty of this spectacular building, it's architecture, it's size, and it's oppulence. If you have a few minutes to spare, I would highly recommend you read about this amazing building, and take a look at some pictures of this building for the pleasure of looking at something beautiful, and maybe even to inspire you.
There are several links below, so I suggest that you right click on them and open them in new tabs.
Here's a virtual tour page, where you can pick any of the 11 cameras to view the building, and I would highly recommend looking at them all!! You will also notice the scale of the building when you look at the cross-section of the building and notice that the main auditorium (under the curved dome in the middle of the building, is only about 1/7th of the total building size. [link]
Here's the main stairwell in the virtual tour (Make sure to pan the camera upards, and look at the ceiling): [link]
Here's the wiki page, to give you an overview of the building: [link]
For muralists out there, here are links to jpg images of a few of the many, many murals:[link]
(Look at those chandaliers!)[link][link]
This is the Chagall ceiling in the main foyer, and the famous chandalier features in the Phantom of the Opera book, and in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical so dramatically: [link]
My one gripe is that the ceiling was re-painted in 1964 by Chagall. Sorry to any Chagall fans out there, but what were they thinking???? Maybe it's just personal taste here, but it looks completely out of place with the rest of the building, and for me it's equivalent to drawing a smiley face over the Mona Lisa, and calling it modern art! (Some web pages say that the original is still underneath, but others say that Chagall painted over the original. I hope that an artist like Chagall would at least have had enough respect to not paint directly over the original?)
Here's a picture of the original painting by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu on canvas to Garnier, the architect: [link]
Here's a newspaper article from it's opening night [link]
, with the original ceiling painting. For those performers, it must have been like singing, and dancing for the angels themselves. How inspirational.
I'm definitely adding this to my bucket list of places to see before I die!!
I hope you enjoy the article, and the links, and please feel free to comment.
Incidentally, if like me you like to listen to something while you draw, you can download free audio books from www.librivox.org, and in particular, you can download the free The Phantom of The Opera audio book here. (You can listen online, or download a zip file of the full book.) [link]