I spent two weeks in France this past January, gathering research for my master’s thesis in the Paris Opera’s Library. I haven’t written about that experience here and am not ready to do so just yet, but it is safe to say that those two weeks of sifting through a nineteenth century opera house’s treasures were a special, unforgettable time.

While I was there, I saw an exhibit on the composer Jules Massenet that will be on display until May 12. Considered one of the greatest melodists of the late nineteenth century, Massenet was known for operas such as Manon, Roi du Lahore and Werther.

The exhibit looks at Massenet’s life and works and features costumes and other artifacts from the composer’s life.

Here is one costume:


And here is a headpiece fit for Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show:


I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about Massenet before I went to France, but I’ve added his music to the nineteenth century playlist I listen to sometimes when I’m working on my thesis. It’s lovely. If you find yourself in Paris within the next month, stop by the Palais Garnier and catch this show in its final days.  It’s a testament to the riches of the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Paris Opera and the life of a man who was admired by the likes of Claude Debussy.