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Front of the Palais Garnier illuminated at night
Opéra National de Paris is the leading opera company of Francemarker. It stages performances at the Opéra Bastillemarker and Opéra Garniermarker in Parismarker.

Other opera houses in Paris are the Théâtre du Châteletmarker, Opéra-Comiquemarker and Théâtre des Champs-Élyséesmarker.

History

King Louis XIV gave a patent to Jean-Baptiste Lully to establish the Académie Royale de Musique in 1672, the great institution of French theatrical art comprising opera, ballet, and music. Although the opera held its own company upon its founding in 1669, the ballet of that time was merely an extension of it, having yet to evolve into an independent form of theatrical art. However Louis XIV, one of the great architects of baroque ballet (the artform which would one day evolve into classical ballet), established the ballet school in 1661 as the Académie Royale de Danse. From 1671 until Lully's death in 1687, the school was under the direction of the great dancing master Pierre Beauchamp, the man who set down the five positions of the feet.

In 1713 King Louis XIV made the Opera company a state institution, including a resident company of professional dancers known as Le Ballet de l'Opéra. From that time until the inauguration of the Palais Garnier in 1875, the Académie Royale de Musique went through 13 principal theatres, most of which were destroyed by fires. All of these theatres, regardless of the more "official" names which were bestowed upon them, were all commonly known as the Paris Opéra or Opéra de Paris.

On 29 October 1873, the old Paris Opéra, known as the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique, which had been used since 1821, was destroyed by a fire which raged for 27 hours, leaving the whole of Paris in despair. By 1875 the opera company moved to the new Palais Garniermarker which had been designed as part of the great Parisian reconstruction of the Second French Empire by Emperor Napoleon III.

The company chose the Opéra Bastillemarker as their principal theatre upon its completion in 1989.

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