In this issue, the Theaters Around the World rubric travels to France, precisely to Versailles. The Royal Opéra is known for having one of the most beautiful opera halls, but also for having an intriguing history. Thus, I propose to return briefly to the court of Louis XVI… The Royal Opera of Versailles is the main theatre and opera house of the Palace of Versailles. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel (1698-1782), it is also known as the Théâtre Gabriel. The opera house is located at the northern extremity of the north wing of the palace. General public access to the theater is gained through the two vestibule. Some parts of the opera house, such as the King’s Loge and the King’s Boudoir represent some of the earliest expressions of what would be known as Louis XVI style. Louis XIV wanted to give the Palace a concert hall that could accommodate the luxurious decor needed to host shows with machines, which he was particularly fond of. Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Carlo Vigarani presented the King two different designs for a theatre (the idea at the time was for a Ballet Hall), but none of them really pleased the sovereign. Louis XIV turned his attention instead to the construction of the Royal Chapel.
Read the entire interview here, in the 8th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0