Palais Garnier’s season-opening gala evening

Dance, opera and fabulous feasting

Image: Alamy

A glittering black-tie gala will launch the Palais Garnier Opéra National de Paris’ new season in style on Thursday September 24, gathering artists from ballet, orchestra and chorus for a series of special performances followed by a dinner prepared by cult gourmet movement Le Fooding.

The traditional Défilé of the Corps de Ballet will open the programme – to a new score: The Entry of the Guests, from Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser. After cocktails, this spectacular presentation will be followed by the premiere of director of dance Benjamin Millepied’s new work, choreographed to an original score by contemporary American composer Nico Muhly, and the gala performance will close with Theme and Variations, a tribute by the late choreographer George Balanchine to 19th-century ballet master Marius Petipa, which acts as a bridge between Russian, French and American ballet schools.  

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Dinner for 600 will see guests dine with artists in the magnificent halls of the opera house, feasting on Le Fooding’s surprise menu. The French gastro-culture group has invited four top Paris-based chefs to create the menu: Adeline Grattard of Franco-Chinese bistro Yam’Tcha, Bertrand Grébaut of bistro Septime, Pascal Barbot of L’Astrance, and Inaki Aizpitarte, who recently launched Le Chabanais, London, and in Paris has Le Chateaubriand restaurant and Le Dauphin wine bar.

“Le Fooding emphasises the appetite for novelty and quality – it is a rejection of boredom and a love of fun,” says Grattard. “Exactly what Benjamin Millepied is doing with his ballet.”

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For more evening entertainment with a gastronomic twist, try Ferran Adrià’s latest venture in Ibiza, or delve into Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz’s little black book for Paris recommendations aplenty.

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