The Paris Opera
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Director: Jean-Stéphane Bron
2016, France, Switzerland, 110 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
THE PARIS OPERA is an engaging, behind-the-scenes look at the whirlwind logistics that is needed to put together the breathtaking performances and events at one of the world’s most eminent institution.
Autumn 2015. At the Paris Opera, Stéphane Lissner is putting the finishing touches to his first press conference as director. Backstage, artists and crew prepare to raise the curtain on a new season with Schönberg’s Moses and Aaron. But the announcement of a strike and arrival of a bull in a supporting role complicate matters. At the same time, a promising young Russian singer begins at the Opera’s Academy. In the hallways of Opera Bastille, his destiny will cross paths with that of Bryn Terfel, one of the greatest voices of his time. As the season progresses, more and more characters appear, playing out the human comedy in the manner of a documentary Opera. But this comedy is set against a tragic backdrop when terrorist attacks plunge Paris into mourning. Even though the show must go on at all costs, there is no end of trouble for the new director. Star choreographer Benjamin Millepied jumps ship soon after taking over as director of ballet at Palais Garnier. Preparations for Richard Wagner’s six-hour opera Die Meistersinger reunite the company.
“With a rare mastery, the filmmaker prowls around the scenes of the Opera and films with the same interest the powerful and the humble, the highlights (the fainting of a dancer who leaves the stage) and the events a priori innocuous.”—Olivier de Bruyn, Les Echos
“Passing from dance to music, in turns ironic, light and cruel, the Opera presents human passions and tells slices of life, in the heart of one of the most prestigious lyric institutions in the world.” – France Musique
“One of the major assets of the film is the praise of sharing and democratization. The Opera, as shown, is not reserved for music lovers. It is addressed to all, even to its rigor…The film as a whole offers an illustration.” – Jacques Morice, Telerama
“THE PARIS OPERA is an immersion film, it plunges us into the mazes of an institution that one will never leave; we then think of the approach of Frederick Wiseman… It [THE PARIS OPERA] is an enchanting, captivating journey, often stunning by what it reveals us, to the discovery of an unknown world. Thanks to Jean-Stéphane Bron, we are here where we cannot normally be behind the scenes.” – Stephane Gobbo, Le Temps