Jürgen Höfer who has recently become technical director of the Bastille and Garnier operas in Paris hasn't heard of an entrance that leads from the Garnier opera to a lake underneath and advises me to consult Gilles Modolo the old technical director. I ask almost everybody I meet about hints they might have concerning the existance of the lake and possible entrances, and wonder why information about this lake is so scarce, since almost everybody seems interested in the possibibily of it's existence. I decide that waiting is a good strategy. I postpone my next visit to the opera again and again. I am trying to stay on the same level of certainty. I am sure I don't want to meet any specialist yet. I specialize in hesitation.
The first ten persons that I talked to, had either hardly ever heard of the lake or the carps that inhabit it, or they had some vague information about a stream of groundwater that flows underneath the opera. A couple of weeks later every second one I met did know that the lake exists and after yet again another couple of weeks they started to remember to have heard of fishes that are living in it. At a dinner at Elodie Royer and Yoan Gourmel's place I talk to Alexandre Guirkinger at that time one of the few remaining persons that did not know anything about the whole thing. Five months later he will tell Mathilde Villeneuve that 2 years ago he took a picture not of the lake itself, but of the entrance by which it can be reached from the opera. As a proof he sends the picture, and he claims the two of us have never talked about it before. The state of the lake has changed for Jürgen Höfer as well. In the summerholidays he visited the lake with his grandchildren and his assistant remembers to have made a boat trip on the lake twenty years ago. He doesn't remember what it looked like, only that it was beautiful.
I am not sure to be ready to go yet, or if the lake is ready for my visit, but I try to make an appointment with somebody who has the keys to the door. In case it is too soon, I can always postpone it. Brigitte Engel tells me that the opera fire fighters (differing from other countries they are employees of the opera not of the state), are in charge of the lake because it serves as a reserve of water they will use in case the opera burns. Since the opera has not burned yet, they profit of the two ressources they have, water and time, and use them for fishing. So there are fishes in this lake, that apparently exists as well, now.
If todays firefighters use it as a ressource to go fishing, they will have done so in the past as well. Carps are said to be the most difficult fish to catch. I imagine an early firefighter - an ancestor of catpower- who convinces the others to put carps in the lake by saying, if you are looking for something easy, you might as well give it up.
The fishing has lasted approximatly 50 carp generations up to now. In which time they could have started to loose their pigmentation. A pigmentation that doesn't make sense in complete darkness or, in case that luminescent bacteria exist in the lake, it might even be considered inferiour to a reflecting white surface in mating procedures.
I can't say yet, why their eyes would have become red in the same process.
THE CARPS, THE SUBTERRANEAN LAKE OF THE OPERA GARNIER AND THE JAPANESE EMPEROR preparations for a performance with Akihito Hirohito
The guardians of the écluse du Temple say, there are three subterranean rivers in Paris and they have heard of a subterranian lake under the Opera Garnier and think that it is possible that these underground water systems have connections and that the species of fish could be the same, wherever you go. I don't understand the names of the fish they say I am likely to find. If i can choose between three underground rivers and an underground lake, I choose the lake. I do not recall when it was, that I decided to find albino carps, but I am sure inviting the japanese emperor came to my mind approximatly at the same time.