mercredi 15 janvier 2014

1889 World's Fair in Paris

The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was a World's Fair held in Paris, France from 6 May to 31 October 1889. it was one of the most successful World's Fairs in history with more than 30 million visitors.
General view of the Exposition
World's Fair guide
Entrance ticket: 1 Franc
It was held during the year of the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, an event traditionally considered as the symbol for the beginning of the French Revolution. The fair included a reconstruction of the Bastille and its surrounding neighborhood, but with the interior courtyard covered with a blue ceiling decorated with fleur-de-lys and used as a ball room and gathering place.

Advertisement for the Fair (available in my shop)
The main symbol of the Fair was the Eiffel Tower, which was completed in 1889, and served as the entrance arch to the Fair. The tower was constructed of wrought iron and was designed by Gustave Eiffel. The 1889 fair was built on the Champ de Mars in Paris, which had been the site of the earlier Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, and would be the site of the 1900 exposition as well.
Matching closely the opening day of the Exposition, the Opéra Comique premiered on 14 May 1889 with a work specially composed for that event: Jules Massenet's Esclarmonde (debuting American soprano Sybil Sanderson), attracting and entertaining crowds of visitors for the more than 50 evenings the Exposition lasted.

Four of the Javanese Dancers Photograph from 1889

At the Exposition, the French composer Claude Debussy first heard Javanese gamelan music, performed by an ensemble from Java. David Toop, a modern musical critic, denotes Debussy's experience at the fair to mark the start of ambient music, a style which has since grown through a tree of successive musical innovators, including Sun Ra, John Cage, and innumerable others. Toop expounds upon Debussy's importance in his 1995 exegesis on ambient sound, Ocean of Sound.
William Stroudley, locomotive superintendent of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway died whilst at the exhibition, where he was exhibiting one of his locomotives. Heineken received the Grand Prix (English: Grand Prize) at the exposition.

Buffalo Bill recruited American sharpshooter Annie Oakley to rejoin his "Wild West Show" which performed for packed audiences throughout the Exposition. Other prominent visitors included the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) and his wife, Princess Alexandra; artists James McNeill Whistler, Edvard Munch, Rosa Bonheur, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh; U.S. journalist and diplomat Whitelaw Reid; author Henry James; Filipino patriot Jose Rizal; and inventor Thomas Edison. (wikipedia)

Pavillon des téléphones
The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris offered exciting and often surprising aural pleasures. Strangest of all were the familiar melodies of French opera heard through acoustic tubes. Indeed, the Pavillon des téléphones with its opera transmissions by phone, and the exhibition of Edison's phonographs were amongst the greatest attractions of the exhibition. They proved to be places of magic and discovery, but also of uncomfortable awe, however much tamed within the secure parameters of an industrial fair. To go and listen to sounds that had no immediate source was to catch a glimpse of a future which might well bring with it some if not all of those strange and wonderful inventions which had become so popular in novels by Jules Verne. The prospect was at the same time enticing and frightening. ( )

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