As part of the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Paris Opera, the Paris National Opera and the Bibliothèque nationale de France are organising an exhibition devoted to French grand opera, a genre intimately linked to a century, the nineteenth century, and to a city, Paris.
This exhibition catalog, designed by French duo Michelines (Clémence Michon & Line Célo), aims to trace the evolution of this musical genre, from its origins to its decline. Favouring historical subjects, grand opera is the expression of the passions of the time: the France of Louis-Philippe, under the impetus of personalities such as Mérimée, Guizot or Viollet-le-Duc, set out to discover its past and its heritage. Cherubini’s Médée and Spontini’s La Vestale were pioneering works. In 1828, Auber, with La Muette de Portici, truly brought French grand opera to the forefront.
The designers of the book chose Louize Display by Matthieu Cortat, a sharp and clear typeface inspired by letters engraved in stone. Through a hundred or so works (manuscripts, sketches, paintings, set models) the catalogue offers a spectacular journey through these years of operatic creation.