Phèdre : « Quand mon amour
 serait sans crime,
En serait-il moins sans espoir ? »
Hippolyte et Aricie, acte I, scène 8 {Rameau}
photo : Laurent Lagarde, Ville de Limoges, 2013, La Voix humaine, Opéra Théâtre de Limoges

 

Opéra Royal de Versailles

Opéra Royal de Versailles

The construction of the Opéra de Versailles constitutes the result of almost one century of research, of studies and of projects: for, if it was built only at the end of the reign of Louis XV, it had been planned for as early as 1682, the year that Louis XIV moved into Versailles.

Indeed, the King has mandated Hardouin-Mansart and Vigarani to make up plans for a ballet room, and the architect had reserved a location for this at the extremity of the new wing which was to go up over the following years. The choice of this location  was, incidentally, most judicious: the proximity of the reservoirs was an element of security in case of fire, and the steep slope of the ground enabled the obtainment, for the stage, of significant below-the-stage equipment without it being necessary to dig far; consequently, this choice was never challenged by Mansart’s successors. Heavy work was undertaken as early as 1685, but was rapidly interrupted due to wars and financial difficulties at the end of the reign.

Louis XV in turn long drew back before the expense, so that, over almost a century, the French court had to make do with a little comedy room fitted out under the passage des Princes.

Louis XV did however resolve to build a permanent room the project of which was confided to his First architect, Gabriel. Yet, the realisation of this great design was to require over twenty years.

It was only in 1768 that the king, in anticipation of the successive weddings of his grandchildren, at last gave the order to start construction. The work was actively driven, and the opera house, finished within twenty-three months, was inaugurated on the 16th May 1770, the day of the wedding of the Dauphin with the archduchess Marie Antoinette, with a performance of Persée by Quinault and Lully. Since September 2009, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, renovated after 13 million euros’ worth of safety work, has reopened to the public. Château de Versailles Spectacles puts on an operatic, musical and choreographic programme there throughout the season. Performances coproduced with the Centre de Musique baroque de Versailles run alongside French and international operatic performances, as well as prestigious concerts. Cécilia Bartoli, Nathalie Dessay, Bryn Terfel, Roberto Alagna, Philippe Jaroussky, William Christie directing Atys rub shoulders with Angelin Preljocaj, Vanessa Paradis, the Ballet of Vienna, Marc Minkowski, Rolando Villazón or John Eliot Gardiner. This recording was made at the Opéra de Versailles.


Address

Opéra Royal de Versailles
Château de Versailles Spectacles
Pavillon des Roulettes
Grille du Dragon
78000 Versailles
France

Telephone

01 30 83 78 98 (administration)
01 30 83 78 89 (ticket office)

General information

  • LEGAL STATUS :

    Société par actions simplifiée unipersonnelle (SASU)

  • MANAGEMENT :

    Chairman: Catherine Pégard
    Director of Château de Versailles Spectacles: Laurent Brunner
    Administrator: Graziella Vallée

  • BUDGET :
  • 5 M€
  • EMPLOYMENT (FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT) :
  • 76

Technical information

  • NUMBER OF SEATS :
  • 750
  • TECHNICAL INFORMATION (PDF): Download

History

  • YEAR OF OPENING CEREMONY :
  • 1770
  • ARCHITECT(S) :
  • Ange-Jacques Gabriel