Dressing the Opera

From May 25th to November 3rd, 2019 – Moulins

For the Opera de Paris’ 350th birthday, the Centre National du Costume de Scène presents its exceptional exhibition dedicated to costume history in this institution, from the Palais Garnier’s opening in 1875 until its current productions in Opera Bastille. Designed as a wide panorama, the exhibition has a chronological guiding theme, and is structured around main esthetical movements of ballet and opera from the XIXth, XXth and XXth centuries. Costumes, photographs, archives, videos, models…raise lyrical and choreographic creation through the Opéra national de Paris’ main success.



More than 150 costumes are selected, whether kept in the CNCS collections, whether coming from the current repertoire of the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille, illustrate the exhibition. This big scenic fresco honors the costume designers who exemplify these evolutions, the couture workshop know-how that supported them, and the directors who programmed the shows and elected the artistic teams.


Visitors will discover the history of Opera through this main chronologic times, from the Palais Garnier’s creation, going through the emblematic directors as Jacques Rouché (1914-1944) or Rolf Liebermann (1973-1980), until the opening of Opéra Bastille in 1989 which marks an esthetical renew in costumes creation.


Playful and immersive, Alain Batigoulier and Simon de Tovar’s scenography offers a true immersion in the heart of the Opéra de Paris universe, either in the historical opulence and scale of Palais Garnier, either in the technological force of Opéra Bastille.


The Opéra national de Paris is one of the three creative institutions of CNCS, which preserves in its collections more than 5000 costumes from 400 shows produced by the theater, for more than two centuries of its history.


More informations here


Photo 1 : Costume de Charles Bianchini pour le rôle de Mercutio porté par Robert Massard dans “Roméo et Juliette”.
Opéra de Charles Gounod mis en scène par Pedro Gailhard. Opéra national de Paris, Palais Garnier, 1888.
Photo 2 : Marie-Jeanne Lecca, Costume pour Un Prêtre, dans “Salammbô“ opéra de Philippe Fénelon, Opéra Bastille, 1998.
Photo 3 : Roger Chapelain-Midy, costume pour Pamina, dans “La Flûte Enchantée”, opéra de Mozart, mise en scène Maurice Lehmann. Opéra national de Paris, Palais Garnier 1954. Costume porté par Martha Angelici en 1956.
© CNCS / Florent Giffard