The stage is set

As a last stop in Provence before moving on to Israel we visited the Roman Theatre in Orange. This theatre is a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the first century CE against the hill almost to the top known as Colline-St. Europe.  Its acoustics are still considered some of the best in Europe.  The theatre has a tiered semicircle of seating that held up to 7,000 spectators for comedy as well as tragedy.  Today in addition to opera and stage performances many great musicians have appeared on the stage as well. From the 16th to the 19th centuries the interior was filled with slum housing.  In the 19th century restoration began including a new roof over the stage.

City founded in 35 BCE by veterans of the Roman legion. With a theatre and a triumphal arch it was a small Rome in Gaul. Eventually it was a center of the Protestant faith so at odds with the Church. This is a particularly French neighborhood square.
We’ve come to see the famous Roman theatre so it’s amusing to the Beaux Art theatre probably dating from the 19th century.
Not a day has gone by this week without “running” into some Roman structure. In this case a large arch.
Greek tragedies, comedies, and improvisations were performed in this theatre until Christianity banned them and the theatre fell into disuse.
They were preparing for a performance today while we were there, not sure what it was but seems to be an Asian theme with the buddha figure and the wooden archway. Notice how it mirrors the columns engaged on the wall.
This is one of only three theatre that still have their stage wall. The other two are in Turkey and Syria.
That is the emperor Augustus framed by the arch way up high. He is presiding over all events in the theatre even though he is probably a reproduction of the original.
This is a good way to see how the seats of the theatre are imbedded into the hill behind it.
Elements discovered on the site during restoration have been put together in some interesting ways.
This is farewell to France for now. More from Israel in a few days.

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