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The history of the Paris Opera House that I have researched revealed five interesting topics. First, an attempted assassination of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugene took place as their carriage passed through the rue Lepeletier after an evening at the Opera. The incident prompted the Emperor to offer a competition to design a new opera house. In 1860, Charles Garnier entered the design contest called the Ministry of Fine Arts and won. The construction of the Opera House was funded by the state. Due to many unforeseen problems and the Franco Prussian war, the construction stopped in 1870. After the war, the working class occupied the unfinished opera house and used it as a warehouse, observation post, communications center, military post and a powder store. The project was finally finished in 1875, fourteen years later. When the emperor and empress were presented with the model, they asked "What is this style? It's not a style. It's not Greek, it's not Louis XVI." Charles Garnier was noted to have replied, "No, those styles have had their day. This style is Napoleon III, and you complain?"

Second, Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux, a writer, was moved by the grand architecture of the Opera House. With permission, Leroux explored the outer parts, including the cellar which at one time was used as a torture chamber, the basement which gave him access to the underground lake and many hidden passages.

When the Opera House was finished, it was one of the largest venues in the world. The stage was built with 118,404 square feet, 11,000 in square meters, that allowed space for 450 players. It was 185 feet high, 568 feet long, and 333 feet wide. The main chandelier weighed six and a half tons. It took 13 painters, 73 sculptors, and 14 plasterers and stucco specialists to complete the artwork. The Opera's cellar was built on top of an underground lake and stream.

An unexpected accident occurred in 1896 in the Paris Opera House. One of the counterweights of the chandelier fell from the ceiling killing one opera patron. This event sparked Leroux's imagination and inspired him to write the novel, the Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera is a popular horror romance that describes the end of a ghost's love story. In Leroux's novel, he claimed the ghost did exist and was not based on his imagination. The first Phantom of the Opera was published in 1910 and the first film premier took place in the San Francisco Curran Theatre in 1925.

Third, Claude Debussy was quoted as saying, "To the uninformed passer by", the Opera looks like a railway station...inside one might be forgiven for thinking it was the central lounge of a Turkish bath."

Fourth, in 1875, the opening night of the Opera consisted of pieces from the dead. The pieces included overtures by Rossini and Auber. This program was designed to avoid offending living composers.

Fifth, a bit of trivia regarding German history. German writers did not have copyright protection. In 1842, Hambury Stadttheater attempted to introduce a system of royalties. Next year, Meyerbeer managed to set up a system at the Berlin Opera which allowed authors to receive .10 cents off the performance ticket. Music prose were being sold from 500 to 2000 francs. For example, Leon Pillet, director of the Paris Grand Opera paid 500 francs for the prose works of the Hollander, while Lachner paid Henri de Saint-Georges 2,000 francs for the Catarina Cornaro.

I hope I have given interesting examples of the History of the Paris Opera House.