Les Chorégies d'Orange is a unique summer event of France. This event is special because of its magnificent and historical venue. This is a musical festival that takes place in every summer in the fabulous roman theatre, Théâtre antique d'Orange.
This theatre is a rare preservation from the spectacular Roman era. It is one of the best conserved monuments in France. The ancient Romans had used this place for various activities like pantomimes and recitations. According to history, the theatre was founded sometime in 40 BC.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the place was almost in ruins. The Christianity that followed the Empire was against such entertainments and the theatre was used for other purposes. The citizens used it as a refuge during the religious wars that were fought during the 16th century. But it once again was used as a place of entertainment during the 19th century. In 1860 there began the efforts to bring back the theatre to its old glory. It is now declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
In 1869 the renovation was almost complete and a new era of entertainment in the Théâtre antique d'Orange began with the classic opera ‘Joseph’ by Mehul. Thereafter, the festival was
conducted yearly during July-August. The Les Chorégies d'Orange of 2015 is from 8th July to 3rd August.
The theatre still retains the stage wall which is 103 meter long and 37 meters high in perfect condition. This 1.8 thick wall has wonderful acoustic qualities which makes the events conducted in the theatre a unique experience. There are rows of stone seats arranged in a semicircle and the theatre can hold about 9000 people at a time. The most incredible fact is that the age of the theatre has not affected its extraordinary qualities.
Les Chorégies d'Orange is the oldest musical festival in France. But it attains increased variety and hence increased popularity with every passing year. Every year lyrical and musical performances by top-class artists lure a large crowd to Orange. World famous opera artists perform in the theatre every year. From 1971 the festival acquired better and newer dimensions and there after it has become an internationally acclaimed music and lyrical festival.
During Les Chorégies d'Orange a lot of educational programs are undertaken in partnership with Ministry of Education to educate the new generation about opera singing and other technicalities of opera production. The choregies take up various social responsibilities also by including the people who suffer some kind of set-backs due to their physical or social disadvantages. It also incorporates international participation in the festival.
Now it is the best summer attraction of Orange city that is in Southern France. Operas and concerts conducted by world renowned professionals are the main attraction of the festival. The armatures are also allowed a few performances every year. So the new generation artists who learn from the choregies can also hone their skills by performing in the festival. If you have a chance to visit France in summer, Les Chorégies d'Orange must be charted as one of the must-attend list of events.
by Marina Chernyak
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