May 5, 2018

García at the Palais Royal

Palais du Justice which adjoins the Palais Royal 

On a September day in 1854, I was strolling in the Palais Royal, preoccupied with the ever-recurring wish so often repressed as unrealizable, when suddenly I saw the two mirrors of the laryngoscope in the their respective positions as if actually present before my eyes. I went straight to Charrière, the surgical instrument maker, and, asking if he happened to possess a small mirror with a long handle, was informed that he had a little dentist's mirror which had been one of the failures of the London Exhibition of 1851. I bought it for 6 francs. Having obtained also a hand mirror I returned home at once, very impatient to begin my experiments. I placed against the uvula the little mirror (which I had heated in warm water and carefully dried); then flashing upon its surface with the hand mirror a ray of sunlight, I saw at once, to my great joy, the glottis wide open before me, and so fully exposed that I could perceive a portion of the trachea. When my excitement had somewhat subsided I began to examine what was passing before my eyes. The manner in which the glottis silently opened and shut, and moved in the act of phonation, filled me with wonder.

"The García Centenary," The British Musical Journal, March 25th, 1905: 683

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To walk where the great García walked—as I did in 2016—was nothing short of amazing even if part of the main complex no longer stood. García would have walked here and then gone to his studio/home which is only a few blocks away on the Rue Chabanais. 


Photo Credit: Daniel James Shigo 2016

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