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Louis XIV was keen to give the Château de Versailles a performance hall that could accommodate all the opulent sets required for performances involving machines (of which he was especially fond). He planned to build it at the far end of the North Wing, a very wise choice, as nearby reservoirs offered increased safety, and the sloping ground meant that plenty of space could be created beneath the stage. The works began in 1685, but were only completed under Louis XV, by Angel-Jacques Gabriel and Blaise Henri Arnoult, first architect to the King and first engineer to the King respectively. On 16 May 1770, the Royal Opera was inaugurated for the wedding celebrations of the Dauphin and future King Louis XVI and the archduchess Marie-Antoinette.

  • 1952 to 1957

    The exceptional quality of the theatre was restored between 1952 and 1957 by the architect André Japy, complemented by the restoration of the “Bal Paré” decorative elements. The opera house was then inaugurated by none other than President René Coty and Queen Elisabeth II! Towards the end of this period, refurbishment work to increase safety and provide new technical equipment for the stage revealed that the 1770 machine, which were famous in their time, still partially existed.

  • June 2007 to September 2009

    The Opera was closed from June 2007 to September 2009 to undergo major safety upgrades that have brought this magical place back to life, its wonderful acoustics provided by the fully wooden structure.

    A theatre of life first under the monarchy and, later, the republic, it has hosted festivities, shows and parliamentary debates throughout its history. The shows, created with this history in mind and for this truly unique venue, take us back to a time when Versailles was one of Europe’s leading centres of musical creation.

  • 2009

    Since reopening in 2009, the Royal Opera has boasted a rich and eclectic programme. With a particular focus on music from the 17th and 18th centuries, there is room for all repertoires on the stage of the Royal Opera, from little-known works such as Grétry’s La Caravane du Caire or Gluck’s Echo et Narcisse, to key classical works, such as Mozart-Da Ponte Trilogy (The Marriage of Figaro; Don Giovanni; Così fan tutte). The opera’s repertoire extends from early operas (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo ) to contemporary creations (Preljocaj’s ballet Mythologies).

  • 2018

    Since 2018, the Château de Versailles Spectacles has had its own record label, with more than eighty recordings to date.

  • 2019

    In 2019, l’Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal was founded to mark the performances of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.

  • 2020

    In 2020, the Royal Opera celebrated its 250th anniversary!

The Versailles Royal Opera today

Today, the Royal Opera hosts over 100 performances every musical season, with operas in both staged and concert version, recitals, plays and ballets. Internationally renowned soloists (Cécilia Bartoli, Philippe Jarrousky, Jakub Jósef Orliński, Sonya Yoncheva, Sir Bryn Terfel), leading conductors (William Christie, Sébastien Daucé, Vincent Dumestre, Leonardo García Alarcón, John Eliot Gardiner, Václav Luks, Hervé Niquet, Raphaël Pichon, François-Xavier Roth, Jordi Savall, Marc Minkowski), and choreographers (Thierry Malandain, Angelin Preljocaj) have all taken to this prestigious stage.

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