The BnF

Opera Library

Opera Library's reading room. © Alain Goustard / BnF
Joined to the Bibliothèque nationale in 1935, the Opera Library has its origins in the Opera’s library and archives created in 1866 and in the museum opened to public in 1881.

The library is set up in the former ‘Pavillon de l’Empereur” of the Palais Garnier intended to Napoleon the 3rd. Located in the western wing of the building, on the garden side, this pavilion included an approach ramp to a ‘covered’ shed for horse-drawn carriages. At the upper floor, the Head of State had access to his lodge from the sitting-room and the smoking room. After the fall of the Second Empire, this area was handed over to the Museum-Library.

The current layout of the Opera Library dates back to 1991. The sitting-room houses the reading-room; temporary exhibitions are organized in the lower rotunda and the museum’s permanent collections can be seen in the former smoking-room.

For more info

about the Palais Garnier on website of Paris Opera - Palais Garnier

  • Main stairs of the Opera Library. © Alain Goustard / BnF (click for enlarge)
  • Poster for Charles Gounod's Faust. 1875
  • Set sketch for Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda (act one, scene one). Émile Daran. 1880
  • Gallery of the Opera Library. © Alain Goustard / BnF (click for enlarge)
  • Exhibition room of the Opera Library. © Alain Goustard / BnF (click for enlarge)
  • Portrait of Tamara Karsavina in Igor Stravinsky's L'Oiseau de feu. 1910. Boris Kochno collection

Click on images for a larger view

The Opera Library holds major resources about the architecture of the Palais Garnier, set sketches, costumes, programmes, jewels… and archives concerning the shows performed by the Académie de Musique et de Danse for three centuries.

For more info

about collections on Opera Library

Monday, April 18, 2016