Olivier Halanzier, director of the Paris Opéra 1871–9, had a longer career and a higher professional profile than Parisian theatre directors who have been the object of sustained musicological interest. Halanzier is, however, a pivotal historical figure. First, he is an important lens through which to understand how Parisian disdain for French regional practice intersected with operatic canon-formation and the conceptualization of the new Palais Garnier as a museum; and how this officially sanctioned designation came to signal the progressive redirection of subsidy away from new commissions and towards revivals. Secondly, he is important for the way his unusual career trajectory intersects with the demise of grand opera: Halanzier’s legacy as chief architect of the Paris Opéra as national museum exposed the irony that the institution, with its monumental genre of grand opera curated within its equally monumental Palais Garnier, no longer led the operatic world in compositional terms.
Bibliographical noteDate of Acceptance: 23/05/2015
- museum culture
- nineteenth century