The 18th Century opera house, built as part of the Palace of Versailles as a wedding present for Marie Antoinette, "is one of the most beautiful parts of the castle and one of the most beautiful in the world," said Jean-Jacques Aillagon, director of the Versailles palace and gardens, one of the world's top tourist destinations.
The 652-seat opera house was closed to overhaul the heating and electricity systems and to repair decorative details in the boxes. It was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel and constructed entirely of wood and painted to resemble marble in a technique known as faux marble. Lully's opera, Pers_e inaugurated the Op_ra on 16 May 1770.
The gala reopening concert features Marc Minkowski and his baroque ensemble, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble with works of Haydn, Gluck and Mozart. Soloists will be soprano Mireille Delunsch, tenor Richard Croft and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. A gala dinner will follow the concert in the Hall of Mirrors. The evening, to benefit the chateau, is already sold-out.
Scheduled for 2009-2010 are recitals, three staged Mozart operas, concerts by soprano Barbara Hendricks, French "chanteuse" Juliette Greco as well Moliere's play Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac) and Gr_try's rarely seen opera, L'Amant jaloux (The Jealous Lover).
The season at Versailles is at http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news/events/shows/the-royal-opera