National Library of France
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Jean Bérain. 17th century chinese costumes
The Opera Library holds musical documents (music scores, handwritten manuscripts, etc.), graphic materials (mock-ups and drawings of sets and costumes), and archive materials arising from the activities of the Opéra (including in particular performances by the Académie de Musique et de Danse over the past three centuries) and the Opéra-Comique.
The Library also holds literary, musical, graphic, and museum materials on lyrical theater and dance.
The Opera Library also has under its charge a museum, originally consisting of “pious souvenirs” belonging to singers, dancers, composers, and musicians. Housed within the Opéra Garnier, it displays a selection from among 2,500 mock-ups of sets, 3,000 objects (including 500 paintings), and 3,000 items of stage jewelry.
History of the Opera LibraryFrom the formation of the Académie royale de Musique (at the origin of the Opéra de Paris) on 28 June 1669 until the mid-19th century, no institution was officially tasked with managing the archives generated by the activities of the Académie and its associated performance venue. The creation of an archives department and library was incorporated into the project entrusted to Charles Garnier to build a new opera house. Today located in the pavilion of the Palais Garnier originally intended for Napoleon III, the Opera Library thus traces its roots back to two departments of the Opéra (the library and the archives), both of which were set up in 1866 before rapidly being amalgamated and supplemented by a public museum in 1881. Originally coming under the Secretary of State for Fine Art, the Opera Library was attached to the National Library in 1935, and has been attached to the Music Department since the latter was set up in 1942.
Monday, February 24, 2014