London: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Country: England, United Kingdom
City: London WC2
Location: Bow Street / Covent Garden

[1st theatre on the site built 1732 as "Theatre Royal Covent Garden" by Edward Shepherd. 2nd theatre built 1809 by Robert Smirke. 1847 renamed "Royal Italian Opera". Destroyed by a fire in 1856.]

Present theatre built 1857-1858 as "Royal Italian Opera" by Edward M. Barry. Opened 15 May 1858 with Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots". 1892 renamed "Royal Opera". 1899-1902 rebuilding of stagehouse by E. O. Sachs. 1939 renamed "Royal Opera House, Covent Garden". Several minor changes of auditorium from 1955 to 1992. 1982 addition of rehearsal and dressing rooms and conversion of E. M. Barry's 1860 Floral Hall into a foyer by Gollins, Melvin and Ward. 1997-1999 major refurbishment of auditorium, construction of a new stagehouse, addition of new buildings. Floral Hall renamed Vilar Floral Hall in honour of the opera sponsor, Alberto Vilar (re-renamed "Floral Hall" in 2005). Re-opened 6 Dec 1999 with Verdi's "Falstaff". The Royal Opera House is used by the resident "Royal Opera" and "Royal Ballet" companies. 2268 seats.

Notable world premieres:

  • Julius Benedict: The Lily of Killarney (8 Feb 1862)
  • Arthur Sullivan: Ivanhoe (31 Jan 1891)
  • Jules Massenet: La Navarraise (2 June 1894)
  • Charles V. Stanford: Much ado about Nothing (30 May 1901)
  • Franco Leoni: L'oracolo (28 June 1905)
  • Claude Debussy: L'Enfant prodigue (staged premiere, 28 Feb 1910)
  • Gustav Holst: The Perfect Fool (14 May 1923)
  • Eugène Goossens: Judith (25 June 1929)
  • Arthus Bliss: The Olympians (29 Sep 1949)
  • Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd (1 Dec 1951)
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Pilgrim's Progress (26 Apr 1951)
  • Benjamin Britten: Gloriana (8 June 1953)
  • William Walton: Troilus and Cressida (3 Dec 1954)
  • Michael Tippett: Midsummer Marriage (21 Jan 1955)
  • Michael Tippett: The Knot Garden (2 Dec 1970)
  • Peter Maxwell Davies: Taverner (12 July 1972)
  • Benjamin Britten: Owen Wingrave (staged premiere, 10 May 1973)
  • Hans Werner Henze: We Come to the River (1976)
  • Michael Tippett: The Ice Break (7 July 1977)
  • John Taverner: Therese (1979)
  • Harrison Birtwistle: Gawain (1991)

Links: www.roh.org.uk, Wikipedia, Theatres Trust

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Front Text: "Covent Garden Theatre, London"
Publisher: E. F. A. London Theatre Series; No. 1004
Type: Divided Back
Size: Classic
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Front Text: "Covent Garden Theatre, London"
Type: Real Photo
Size: Classic
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Front Text: "Royal Opera House
Reverse Text: "London Landmarks (The Royal Opera House). Reproduced from a stamp designed by Sir Hugh Casson KVCO PRA and issued by the Post Office on the 7 May 1980 - price 8 1/2 p"
Publisher: Post Office Picture Card Series PHQ 43
Type: Maximum Card with First Day Postmark (7 May 1980)
Size: Modern

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Front Text: "London, Covent Garden"
Reverse Text: "Covent Garden Opera House, London - Local people and visitors from abroad have enjoyed the delights of opera in this historic building over many years."
Publisher: Capital Cards; 32-04-126
Size: 18.9 x 13.0 cm
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Reverse Text: "The restoration of the auditorium, 1998. Watercolour by Glynn Boyd Harte: one of a series of paintings recording the development of the Royal Opera House, 1997-1999. 570mmx765 mm"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: Modern
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Reverse Text: "Royal Opera House redevelopment - North Piazza Arcade"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: Modern
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Reverse Text: "Exterior of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: Modern
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Reverse Text: "Auditorium of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: Modern
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Reverse Text: "Interior of the Vilar Floral Hall, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: Modern
Not sent.

[London: Royal Opera House Covent Garden] Folded Greeting Card
Reverse Text: "Fish-eye view of the Dome, Frieze and Tiers of the Royal Opera House Auditorium"
Publisher: Royal Opera House, available at www.royalopera.org
Size: 15 x 15 cm (folded)
Not sent.

For another picture of this theatre, see London: "The Theatres of London".


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