Classical music and opera

Some must-visit Paris venues regularly stage the greatest operas, and classical music’s best-loved works

The autumn cultural calendar would be incomplete without music. The city’s classical music and opera venues offer particularly rich and varied programming from September onwards.

Opera in Paris

La Veuve joyeuse - Opéra Bastille 2017 © Marjolaine Rouze - OnP

This year, Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte will enchant audiences at the legendary Opéra Garnier (from 12 September to 21 October 2017) in a production with unique staging by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker where the body truly becomes one with the music (in Italian, with surtitles in French and English). In addition, the Library-Museum of the Opéra Garnier will be hosting an exhibition devoted to the composer – a child prodigy – in early September.

At the Opéra Bastille, audiences will be caught up in the energetic waltzes and polkas of La Veuve Joyeuse (The Merry Widow), the composer Franz Lehár’s best-known operetta. In the vanguard of opera, Claude Debussy perfected the music drama with his Pelléas et Mélisande (from 19 September to 6 October, surtitled in English). As for Krzysztof Warlikowski and Philippe Jordan’s much-awaited production of Don Carlos by Verdi, it is a breath-taking 4hr30 tragedy (from 10 October to 11 November, surtitled in English).

The Théâtre national de l’Opéra-Comique will witness the return of British theatre director Katie Mitchell with Miranda(from 25 September to 5 October, in English with French surtitles), a new production based on music by the Baroque composer Henry Purcell. And Philippe Manoury’s international award-winning opera Kein Licht is a work inspired by the Fukushima disaster (on from 18 to 22 October).

Meanwhile, La Seine Musicale will take a short break from its musical programming to stage an exceptional exhibition titled Maria By Callas: a wonderful tribute to the legendary singer.

Classic music concerts in Paris

Philharmonie de Paris - Grande Salle © W Beaucardet

It gets harder every year to choose among the concerts on the Paris calendar, as the French capital offers such a plethora of opportunities to enjoy great works of classical music.

The Philharmonie de Paris, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Seine Musicale, the Auditorium du Louvre and the Maison de la Radio, all of them venues with outstanding acoustics, are once again hosting some of the world’s most renowned orchestras this year: the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Gewandhausorchester and the London Symphony Orchestra. You can hear some of the finest soloists in Paris this autumn, among them Benjamin Grosvenor, Frederic Moreau, Denis Matsouiev and Ophélie Gaillard.

The magnificent Sainte Chapelle with its remarkable stained glass windows often thrills to the sounds of the finest classical music compositions. And the classical music concerts regularly hosted in Paris churches are a feast for the eyes as well as the ears: Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, Église de la Madeleine, Église Saint-Ephrem, Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the American Church, the Cathédrale du Dôme-Saint-Louis-des-Invalides and, of course, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

Or you can go off the beaten track and head for the Seine Musicale, where September will see an incredible staging of Mozart’s Requiem, mixing theatre, classical music and equestrian show staging by Bartabas (from 15 to 17 September 2017).

Showtime in Paris