A day in Paris by Esprit de France #12

A day in Paris | Exhibitions | Museums
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Hôtel d'Orsay
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A preview for the Fall Season 

The Musée Marmottan Monet is famous for its iconic Impression, Sunrise, which marked the starting point of Impressionism in 1874 when a journalist of the newspaper Charivari, who wanted to make fun of the painting and its title, actually created the word and thus, in some way, the art movement. The museum initiates the Autumn exhibitions by setting up an unprecedented exhibition featuring, for the first time, Monet’s private collection. Works on loan from many museums have made it possible to retrace and reveal this secret aspect of the artist's life: indeed, throughout his career, he received, exchanged and even purchased paintings by his peers. Gifts and exchanges were numerous with Caillebotte, Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Pissarro and Jongkind. Monet also sought to acquire small works from the former generation of artists he particularly admired such as Delacroix, Corot and especially Boudin whom he felt very close to. And though his style was very different from Cezanne’s, he had great admiration for the latter’s works, that he followed with close interest and bought regularly through the well-known art-dealer Vollard. To be viewed is an entire set of masterpieces by his impressionist friends, including Rodin as well as painters of Parisian life such as Toulouse-Lautrec or Chéret.

If you are not yet acquainted with the second Opera de Paris location at the Place de la Bastille, the new season’s program is an ideal opportunity to try it out. You will have to choose between the story of Pelléas and Mélisande describing an impossible love-triangle or an evening full of polkas and Viennese waltzes offered to the frivolous Merry Widow. The former, in 5 acts, develops a plot quite close to that of Tristan and Yseult: when Mélisande meets her brother-in-law Pelléas, both of them are irresistibly attracted to each other and Prince Golaud, Mélisande’s husband, soon becomes jealous... The lyrical drama bathed in a sensual and mysterious atmosphere is Claude Debussy’s only opera: the bright and refined, though minimal, staging by the famous Bob Wilson reinforces the sensation of dream, in-line with the composer’s ethereal music. La Veuve Joyeuse (The Merry Widow), a work by Franz Lehàr, on the contrary whirls with dances and, with its most famous tune, the duet "Exquisite Hour" accompanied by vibrating violins, always triggers the greatest applause.

After the show, do not hesitate to cross the Place de la Bastille to wind up the evening with a late meal at the Bofinger restaurant and experience the cosiness of an authentic Belle Epoque Parisian brasserie.