The Chorégies d'Orange is a summer opera festival held each August in Orange located about 21 kilometres north of Avignon in southern France.
The Chorégies d'Orange is one if not the oldest festival in France, dating back to 1869. But over the years, it has managed to preserve all the originality: by the name it bears, from the Greek "choreos", which links them to the Greco-Latin tradition; by the place where it takes place every summer: a perfectly preserved Ancient Theatre, with a capacity of 8300 people and which has the privilege of having kept its "Wall", a guarantee of exceptional acoustics; and finally by the lyrical and musical vocation which places the Chorégies d'Orange at the forefront of the great French festivals.
The first performance took place in 1869 with an opera by Mehul, "Joseph". The vocation of the Ancient Theatre was then to promote the French playwrights of the time and to return to the sources of the great Greco-Roman tragedies. The lyrical and musical vocation of the Ancient Theatre became preponderant in 1971, with the creation of the "Nouvelles Chorégies", which immediately met with immense success. All the great names of the lyrical art have performed there, giving this ideal stage venue an international prestige, which has been confirmed every year since.
What makes it so special is that performances are held in the astounding Roman amphitheatre in the ancient Roman town of Orange. The acoustics are part of the reason that this music festival has become so successful. The schedule tends to include a mixture of opera and classical music concerts and can sell out well in advance. Tickets go on sale in October for the following summer.
The Roman theatre at Orange is one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world and it’s still in use to this day. A stunning facade with a statue of Emperor Augustus who’s watched over the stage since 1 AD is simply stunning. When visiting Orange Louis XIV said of the theatre that it was “the most beautiful wall in my Kingdom”. Today the theatre at Orange continues to inspire and delight audiences – just as the Romans intended.