Photographs by Candida Höfer. Text by Gérard Mortier.
80 pp., 45 color illustrations, 10½x13½".
Candida Höfer’s works have something timeless about them, and opera is perhaps the most timeless cultural delight. Having dedicated a photographic series to the cathedrals of knowledge that are libraries, Höfer in her most recent cycle captures opera houses, the palaces of performing arts. Höfer’s earlier pictures of public spaces—libraries, lecture halls, museums, meeting rooms—forever devoid of people, made us sense the presence of those absent. Her opera photographs take us one step beyond: empty foyers, orchestras, stages, wings, and boxes make us imagine both the protagonists—performers and audience—and the fictitious figures, plots, and places that populate these venues during a night at the opera. In her most recent publication Candida Höfer portrays two Paris opera houses that are exemplary for their age and time: the neoclassicist Palais Garnier (1875), original Phantom of the Opera site, and the modern-style Opéra Bastille (1989).