An amazing almost two thousand years old antique Roman theatre of Orange (Théâtre antique d’Orange) is located in Orange, Vaucluse. The theatre was built in the Roman colony of Arausio (founded around 35 AD for the veterans of the second Gallic Legion) in the 1st century AD. The Roman Theatre of Orange was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
It is really amazing that this theatre has been hosting various cultural events for two thousand years. Mime, pantomime, and poetry readings in the Antiquity, a world famous Chorégies d’Orange summer opera festival nowadays.
The Roman Theatre of Orange looks impressive. The exterior façade wall (postscaeneum) is 103 meters long and 37 meters high. The wall must have looked great for Louis XIV, as he called it la plus belle muraille de mon royaume (the most beautiful wall in my kingdom).
The stage wall (frons scaenae) is 61 meter long and 37 meters high (the wall original height is entirely preserved). In the Antiquity the wall was decorated with marble and mosaics, contained 76 columns, friezes, and niches with statuary. The wall texture and ornamentation helped to properly project the sound to the audience.
Back in the Antique times, the theatre could seat from 5850 to 7300 spectators. Much of the seating has been reconstructed today.
As it was mentioned before, the Chorégies d’Orange summer opera festival in being held in the Roman Theatre of Orange annually. The first festival was held under the name of the Roman Festival in 1869, after completion of the theatre restoration works (1825 – 1869). In 1902, the festival name was changed to Chorégies. In 1969, it was divided into two events – theatrical performances were moved to Avignon and the Chorégies d’Orange became the opera festival.
The Roman Theatre of Orange is definitely worth visiting while being in Provence. We recommend you to schedule your visit during the Chorégies d’Orange festival dates, in order to have an opportunity to attend the festival events. In 2017, the Chorégies d’Orange festival is being held during June 19 – August 5. Rigoletto, Aida, Symphony No. 9, new images from NASA projection during Holst’s The Planets. Performances will be epic in 2017.
Please contact Yaroslav Grebnov in order to organise your visit to Orange and your participation in the Chorégies d’Orange festival.
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