. . . nobody in our time had such a nose for a profit, nor such greyhound speed at running it down.
—Mémoires, Philarète chasles

Winning the war, they say, is easier than winning the peace. Although the Académie Royale de Musique—the Paris Opéra—somehow survived the French Revolution and its bloody aftermath, the first years of the Bourbon Restoration posed a different type of threat. The Opéra was one of France’s most famous institutions, but generations of financial mismanagement and institutional politicking had produced their usual consequences. It was, in Ernest Newman’s phrase, “hoary with iniquities, cynical with long experiences of human cupidity and folly.”


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