ORGANS OF PARIS © 2020 Vincent Hildebrandt HOME D-R
Many are unaware that inside the Paris Opera built
by architect Charles Garnier from 1862 to 1874 is
hidden an instrument built by Cavaillé-Coll in 1874.
Hidden ? Not really, but hidden from view since it is
located on the Courtyard side at the level of the
proscenium with pipes situated 12 meters high.
It is an organ of 14 stops (18 with the borrowings)
on two 56-note keyboards and a 30-note
pedalboard fully closed in an expressive box.
The inauguration took place on January 8, 1875 with
the representation of the "Jewess" (La Juive) from
Fromental Halévy. The organ is then used regularly
according to the performance of works requiring its
use. Alas, a first cry of alarm is launched in 1893 by
Cavaillé-Coll himself who notices that his
instrument has never been cleaned. The condition
of the organ worsens, certain stops suffering from
tone alterations ... On February 8, 1894 he
considers the organ "in a state of disrepair"!
In 1925, after a leak in the water column of the fire
department, the organ was flooded and put out of
service. It was at this time, during the repair by the
house Cavaillé-Coll / Convers that some
modifications were made, the most important
being the installation of an electric fan, installed in a
separate room located under the organ.
This instrument was last used on March 23, 1959 to
celebrate the centenary of the creation of Faust by
Charles Gounod. The organist André Marchal plays
at this occasion. He still played it occasionally in
Since 1974, the organ has become unplayable and
undergoes visible malfeasance, especially on the
console. However, the original piping remains
intact. This organ is kept in its original location
desired by its manufacturer, which is unique in its
The organ has been classified as a historic
monument since 1990.
The issue of its restoration was raised since 2012.
Source: Ministry of Culture built by Cavaillé-Coll in
1875 and is still in its original state, thus being a
really exceptional witness of the work of Cavaillé-
Coll in those years.
It was last heard in 1968 and has been neglected
since then and at present it is completely
Attemps to save this organ are ongoing.