OK, so the title of this post is a bit of a fib – I didn’t actually go to see an opera, sadly. But a few months ago we did go on a guided visit to the Paris Opera House. It was a popular attraction, as you can see from the looming figures of other tourists in the back of today’s picture!
A few year’s ago I did a photographic essay on a week in the life of a local theatre. It was a fascinating experience, and not just because I got to peak round the curtain and look behind some of the magic which makes theatre so engaging. It was also really interesting to see how the different qualities of light in different parts of a theatre building help to shape our experience of it – from the often quite functional lighting of the backstage areas, to the more subdued and relaxed lighting of the bar and audience areas, and finally of course the highly controlled lighting of the auditorium space itself.
This piece of lighting at the Paris Opera was just stunning – towering above you as you climbed the stairs, this vast candelabra cast a subdued and stately light, no doubt designed to set the tone for the spectacle which would unfold as you entered the auditorium ahead of you.