Académie Royale de Musique  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Académie Royale de Musique (French - Royal Academy of Music; first known as the Académie d’opéra) was the music academy of ancien regime France, made up of opera, ballet, and music. It was merged into the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1816.

The Académie has held several theatres as its principal venue since its original inception, the foremost being the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique (1821–1873) and the Palais Garnier (1875–1990).


The Académie was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV. Charged with making French opera better known to the public not only in Paris but in the other towns and cities of the kingdom of France, the institution came to be known simply as l'Opéra.

With its only financial resources coming from box-office receipts (and, unlike the Comédie-Française or the Théâtre-Italien, without a royal subsidy), the Opéra was granted the privilege of putting on "pièces de théâtre en musique", with a ban on anyone else doing the same without gaining authorisation from its owners. King Louis XIV granted Perrin, exclusive rights to mounting opera productions in Paris and anywhere in France, by a letters patent of 28 June 1669.

The first to benefit from this privilege were Pierre Perrin and Robert Cambert, as well as two associates who did not hesitate to swindle Perrin. Imprisoned for debt, Perrin was forced to concede this privilege to Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1672, who made a success of it. Lully and his successors bitterly negotiated the concession of this privilege, whole or in part, from the entrepreneurs in the provinces: in 1684 Pierre Gautier bought the authorisation to open a music academy in Marseille, then the towns of Lyon, Rouen, Lille and Bordeaux followed suit in the following years.

King Louis XIV gave a patent to Jean-Baptiste Lully to establish the Académie Royale de Musique in 1672. 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 over the course of the 18th century, 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. It was then moved into the "Théâtre des Arts" (now called the Opéra national de Paris) upon the French Revolution. In 1875, the institution occupied the Palais Garnier then in 1990 the Opéra-Bastille.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Académie Royale de Musique" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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