Bearing witness to the Roman Era, built under the reign of Emperor Augustus in the first century and a French musical mecca since the 19th century, the Théâtre Antique d’Orange (Ancient Theatre of Orange) has retained its extraordinary acoustic properties (its acoustic wall dates from the period). The best-preserved Roman theatre in the Western World, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in 1869 the site rediscovered its origins (as a performance venue accommodating some 9,000 spectators on restored tiers) and returned to its lyric vocation by hosting a performance of Mehul’s opera Joseph. The Théâtre Antique thereupon laid out its mission of “promoting French dramatic authors” and “returning to the sources of the great Greco-Roman tragedies”.
Since 1971, however, the Théâtre Antique has mainly hosted the “New Chorégies”, which has become one of France’s leading opera festivals. Ever summer since, the Chorégies d’Orange has taken full advantage of the extraordinary scenic setting of the Théâtre Antique to host the crème de la crème of the opera world. The is especially beloved by opera mavens for its productions of Italian operas - Aida is a local classic (presented in 1983, 1991, 1995, 2001 and 2006).