Having visited Rome and Nimes, I felt that I was prepared for what awaited in Orange. Not so!
The prices were high but within the bounds of reason. However, when I arrived to take my seat I was faced with the dilemma of, effectively, clambering over, under or around the massing audience most of whom were equally confused as to quite where their "seat" was situated. It was difficult spatially to place allotted seats.
I have placed "seat" in quotation because, luckily I came prepared for the harsh reality of a Roman Amphitheatre (The 'seating' is uncomfortable even with a cushion!. I was not prepared for the quite dreadful confusion that reigned in trying to establish territoriality amid the serried ranks of equally confused individuals!.
If it had not been for the gracious intervention of a very kind security man to whom I explained my dilemma I believe I would not have found a niche anywhere near the area for which I had a reserved 'seat' (Row 5).
This was the first night - a concert with Patrizia Ciofi and Leo Nucci that was, as expected, a 'chef d'oeuvre' from two highly talented and supremely experienced artists. The acoustics are, indeed, magnificent - at least from where I was situated in row 5. The performances were simply excellent!
The second night provided a performance of Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera'. For this I was joined by a friend who had, graciously, reserved two of the better seats.The same chaos reigned, however, as my friend (very accustomed to Theatre Antique) tried to reach the seats we had reserved in the select area. Thanks, again, to our 'Guardian Angel' (who knew my friend of old and, sadly, she was unable to be with me on the first night!) we were shepherded carefully to our allotted position and all seemed well.
Unfortunately the weather took controi and the proceedings were halted with everyone seeking shelter from a quite heavy downpour. There are many access "tunnels" in which protection may be found and so we joined the throng seeking shelter from the quite atrocious downpour.
There were a number of further breaks and resumptions with heavy showers intervening. Credit is due to the stamina and the forebearance of the orchestra and the performers (who helped in clearing the stage of water) that the opera ended late into the night.
The experience my friend and I was that we completely lost our allotted seating and thus we decided to climb to the higher (less crowded) seating - here we soon realised why the prices were much lower for this area. There is a large unit that produces a continuous loud whirring noise throughout the proceedings that my friend had, indeed, warned of but, frankly, the choice of struggling to resume our allotted seat, or concentrating on the music despite everything was grossly unequal. The chaos of the migration due to the stormy interruption was such that discretion on our part was, indeed, the better part of valour. It was, we thought, far better to dissent from the throng than to indulge in the melee we found before us when we tried to retake our seat..
Thus, in short, for us the opera was spoiled - emphatically not for the efforts of the excellent orchestra and performers who stoically endured to the end in good voice. Rather more due to the lack of effective co-ordination following the interregnum caused by the inclement weather.
We would like to stress that the security staff were quite admirable, friendly and courteous but were unable, effectively, to control the disruption largely because they were constrained by poor organisation of seating and ticketing. We offer the security staff our sincere thanks for their kindness and forebearance.
One final comment regarding facilities. The toilets are, to say the least, first century AD in their construction and availability. Indeed, as my friend commented, she was sure that the Romans would have had far better amenities for the general public two thousand years ago!
It was an experience that, in many ways, I am pleased I had - though it also opened the eyes of my friend whose experience of the venue had, hitherto, been much more favourable and organised.
With all the caveats implicit in my commentary I recommend a visit if only for the superb acoustics and, on an uninterrupted evening, a quite unique experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.