Around the time of the agricultural show on 21st August 1869 three prominent citizens of Orange, Antony Real, Felix Ripert and Alphonse Bernard organized a ‘Roman Festival’.
The success of this cultural event was such that every summer since, the Antique Theatre has resumed its original function and hosts a wide range of open-air entertainment.
Over the years concerts, ballets, tragedies, comedies and operas have been scheduled, showcasing the most prestigious artists in their field. From 1972 the festival has been devoted to opera and every year a number of concerts and recitals take place in Place Saint Louis.
Chorégie’ is the translation of a Greek word, which means ‘the work of a chorège’. A chorège was a rich Greek citizen responsible, at his own cost, for the organisation of choruses for musical and dramatic competitions.
From the end of the 19th century the general term ‘chorégie’ was used for all kinds of festival that took place in the Antique Theatre to indicate performances that included choirs or choruses.
In 1934, Jean Hervé, a member of the Comédie-Française (a French state theatre) and later the Artisic Director for the festival soon to be known as the ‘Chorégies’, suggested that ‘Chorégies’ be made the official name of the festival.
In 1971, the festival devoted to opera was renamed the‘New Chorégies’, which today has become the Festival of the “Chorégies d’Orange”
This opera festival has brought the town international prestige and a worldwide reputation. The festival takes place each year in late July and early August.