PARIS - The royal opera house at the palace of Versailles has reopened after two years of renovations to make the gilded hall more fireproof.

The architectural gem with golden columns, elaborate mouldings and dangling chandeliers was especially vulnerable to fire, as much of the interior is made of wood. The US$19.8-million renovations included work to move heating installations and electrical circuits outside the building.

Versailles' opera hall was inaugurated in 1770 for the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and the future Louis XVI.

The renovations will allow the hall, which seats 660, to host a more ambitious lineup of concerts and operas.

The program of Monday's inaugural concert featured works by Mozart, Haydn and Gluck.

One upcoming highlight is a Jan. 9 concert by soprano Barbara Hendricks.

Latest From ...