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19 wondrous opera houses

By: Angela Nelson on Aug. 18, 2016, 6:42 a.m.
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Royal Opera of Versailles in France

The Royal Opera of Versailles is the main theater and opera house on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in France. Its creation was nearly a century in the making, according to the theater's website, starting in 1682 under the reign of Louis XV. But as wars and economic troubles set in toward the end of his rule, the expensive project was put on hold until about 1745, when designs were once again submitted and considered for the new theater. It wasn't until 1770 that the Royal Opera of Versailles was finally inaugurated, just in time for Louis XVI’s marriage to Marie Antoinette.

The main theater, which seats 712, is adorned in wood and painted to look like marble, creating excellent acoustics. Refreshingly, the opera house uses a color palette of gold, green, blue and pink rather than the traditional red and gold. And as National Geographic writes, "Breaking with traditional Italian-style theaters, two balconies ring the house, topped by an ample colonnade that seems to extend into infinity thanks to a play of mirrors." The opera house underwent an extensive renovation that finished in 2009 to bring it up to safety codes.