The Palace of Versailles presents many operas, concerts, gala evening and ballets in some of its exceptional sites as the Royal Opera and the Royal Chapel. In May 2020 we will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the inauguration of the Versailles Royal Opera : discover the 2019-2020 musical season programme.
shows at the palace
The 2019-2020 season will show a History of Opera in France, from the origins to Revolution with major productions: The Royal Ballet of the Night (1652), where young Louis XIV featured for the first time as the sun; Ercole Amante by Cavalli (1662), commissioned for the royal wedding celebrations; the Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670), the most famous comedy-ballet by Molière and Lully, also celebrating his 350th birthday in 2020; Cadmus and Hermione (1673), Lully’s first opera; then his splendid Isis (1677); magical Circe (1694) by Desmarest; impetuous Semiramis (1718) by Destouches; two masterpieces by Rameau, with the exotic Indes Galantes (1735) and impertinent Platea (1745); the magnificent Boréades (1763), Rameau’s musical testament; finally Richard Lionheart (1784), a comic opera by Grétry, with the famous aria “Ô Richard, Ô mon Roi”, the last one to be sung at Versailles in front of the royal family, immediately before their departure from the Château: the Opera Royal closed immediately. You are invited to an extraordinary journey into the history of opera under the French monarchy, which could not find a more apt setting than the Versailles Royal Opera.
Foreign masters are also on the programme: Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607), Psyche by Locke, La Finta Giardinera (1755) by Mozart and The Magic Flute (1791), sung in French. And two anniversaries of French passion: Berlioz, with the extraordinary Benvenuto Cellini (1838) interpreted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in the magnificent historical sets created in 1837 for the Versailles Opera; and Offenbach, with the Perichole (1868) to enchant the end of year celebrations.
The recitals will feature the great voices of our time, from Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky and Jakub Józef Orliński, to Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Patricia Petibon and Lucile Richardot, for baroque music, but also the great Wagnerian singers Michelle de Young and Simon O’Neill.
Great sacred compositions from the baroque repertoire will have a place of honour: Requiems by Campra and Mozart, the latter’s Mass in C and Davide Penitente, Bach’s Magnificat, Motets and Saint John’s Passion, Handel’s Resurrection and Messiah and masterpieces by Praetorius. There will also be a cycle of four concerts of Grand Versailles Motets, by Robert, Lully, Lalande and Clérambault; and the Missa Assumpta est Maria by Charpentier…
On the first commemoration day of the Armenian Genocide, the Palace of Versailles will pay a vibrant homage in the Royal Chapel. Alexandre Tharaud will propose an initiatory journey in the most beautiful rooms of the Château, with "Versailles music".
In our dance programme, two opportunities to see and hear the famous Bolero, in Béjart’s iconic choreography and also in Preljocaj frenzied version and to admire the revival of Thierry Malandain’s vision of Marie-Antoinette, who will be celebrated during the summer months on the occasion of her wedding anniversary.
Finally, two exceptional 1770 anniversaries will be celebrated as they deserve. First Beethoven, born the same year as the Royal Opera: the complete symphonies, piano concertos, and violin and piano sonatas will give us the dimensions of this universal and revolutionary genius.
And for the crowning moment of its 250th anniversary, the Royal Opera is bringing to France a work commissioned for the MET’s centenary, but in essence designed for our stage: Versailles’s Ghosts by John Corigliano, where the characters of the Marriage of Figaro mingle with Marie-Antoinette, in the first 20th century opera ever shown in Versailles.
With 10 opera productions and 10 operas in concert version, more than 100 performances, mostly of works from before the French Revolution, 10 of which to become CDs in the collection Château de Versailles Spectacles, in 10 years Versailles has become the only opera dedicated to “baroque” music, also presenting the greatest variety of compositions of the time, on period instruments.
The 2019 - 2020 season
shows in the Great stables
On Saturdays and Sundays the Equestrian Academy managed by Bartabas presents its repertory piece, La Voie de l’écuyer, which takes the form of a new opus each year and combines the art of dressage, singing, stage fencing, Kyudo (Japanese archery) and dance.
The Academy also invites visitors to discover the Stables, which are steeped in history, during an unaccompanied visit of or a guided tour. click here for further information.
The Gallery of Coaches, situated in the King’s Great Stables, boasts one of the finest collections of coaches in Europe. It is open every afternoon from Tuesday to Sunday. Click here for further information.
After more than three years of restoration work, the Queen’s State Apartment is being reopened to the public, providing a great opportunity to revisit three of the Palace of Versailles’ key female characters: Marie-Antoinette, who lived in the Queen’s State Apartment, Marie Leszczynska and Madame de Maintenon.