Royal Opera House

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Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House logo.jpg
Logo of the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House and ballerina.jpg
The Royal Opera House's Bow Street frontage with Plazzotta's statue, Young Dancer, in the foreground
Address Bow Street
London, WC2
United Kingdom
Public transit Underground no-text.svg Covent Garden
Designation Grade I [1]
Type Opera house
Capacity 2,256

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

Opera house theatre building used for opera performances

An opera house is a theatre building used for opera performances that consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building.

Covent Garden district in London, England

Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, which itself may be referred to as "Covent Garden". The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Central London Innermost part of London, England

Central London is the innermost part of London, in the United Kingdom, spanning several boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. Its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities.


The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. [2] The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building. [3]

Auditorium A room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances

An auditorium is a room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances. For movie theatres, the number of auditoria is expressed as the number of screens. Auditoria can be found in entertainment venues, community halls, and theaters, and may be used for rehearsal, presentation, performing arts productions, or as a learning space.

Box (theatre) seating area in a theater

In theater, a box is a small, separated seating area in the auditorium or audience for a limited number of people for private viewing of a performance or event.

Balcony platform projecting from the wall of a building

A balcony is a platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or console brackets, and enclosed with a balustrade, usually above the ground floor.

Davenant patent

"Rich's Glory": John Rich seemingly invades his new Covent Garden Theatre. (caricature by William Hogarth) Rich-Covent-Garden.jpg
"Rich's Glory": John Rich seemingly invades his new Covent Garden Theatre. (caricature by William Hogarth)

The foundation of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden lies in the letters patent awarded by Charles II to Sir William Davenant in 1662, allowing Davenant to operate one of only two patent theatre companies (The Duke's Company ) in London. The letters patent remained in the possession of the patentees' heirs until the 19th century; their whereabouts were unknown for some time [4] , but as of 2019 are held in the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia. [5]

Letters patent type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order

Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, president, or other head of state, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation. Letters patent can be used for the creation of corporations or government offices, or for the granting of city status or a coat of arms. Letters patent are issued for the appointment of representatives of the Crown, such as governors and governors-general of Commonwealth realms, as well as appointing a Royal Commission. In the United Kingdom they are also issued for the creation of peers of the realm. A particular form of letters patent has evolved into the modern patent granting exclusive rights in an invention. In this case it is essential that the written grant should be in the form of a public document so other inventors can consult it to avoid infringement and also to understand how to "practice" the invention, i.e., put it into practical use. In the Holy Roman Empire, Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, imperial patent was also the highest form of generally binding legal regulations, e. g. Patent of Toleration, Serfdom Patent etc.

Charles II of England 17th-century King of England, Ireland and Scotland

Charles II was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death.

William Davenant 17th-century English poet and playwright

Sir William Davenant, also spelled D'Avenant, was an English poet and playwright. Along with Thomas Killigrew, Davenant was one of the rare figures in English Renaissance theatre whose career spanned both the Caroline and Restoration eras and who was active both before and after the English Civil War and during the Interregnum.

First theatre

Illustration of the first theatre before it burned down in 1808 Covert Garden Theatre edited.jpg
Illustration of the first theatre before it burned down in 1808

In 1728, John Rich, actor-manager of the Duke's Company at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, commissioned The Beggar's Opera from John Gay. The success of this venture provided him with the capital to build the Theatre Royal (designed by Edward Shepherd) at the site of an ancient convent garden, part of which had been developed by Inigo Jones in the 1630s with a piazza and church. In addition, a Royal Charter had created a fruit and vegetable market in the area, a market which survived in that location until 1974. At its opening on 7 December 1732, Rich was carried by his actors in processional triumph into the theatre for its opening production of William Congreve's The Way of the World . [note 1]

John Rich (producer) British theatre producer

John Rich (1692–1761) was an important director and theatre manager in 18th-century London. He opened the New Theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields (1714), which he managed until he opened the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (1732). He managed Covent Garden until 1761, putting on ever more lavish productions. He introduced pantomime to the English stage and played a dancing and mute Harlequin himself from 1717 to 1760 under the stage name of "Lun." Rich's version of the servant character, Arlecchino, moved away from the poor, disheveled, loud, and crude character, to a colorfully-dressed, silent Harlequin, performing fanciful tricks, dances and magic. The British idea of the Harlequin character was heavily inspired by Rich's idea of a silent character. Rich's choice of being a silent character was influenced by his unappealing voice, which he was well aware of.

Lincolns Inn Fields public square in London

Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest public square in London. It was laid out in the 1630s under the initiative of the speculative builder and contractor William Newton, "the first in a long series of entrepreneurs who took a hand in developing London", as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner observes. The original plan for "laying out and planting" these fields, drawn by the hand of Inigo Jones, was said still to be seen in Lord Pembroke's collection at Wilton House in the 19th century, but is untraced. The grounds, which had remained private property, were acquired by London County Council in 1895. It is today managed by the London Borough of Camden and forms part of the southern boundary of that borough with the City of Westminster.

<i>The Beggars Opera</i> 1728 ballad opera by John Gay

The Beggar's Opera is a ballad opera in three acts written in 1728 by John Gay with music arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch. It is one of the watershed plays in Augustan drama and is the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today. Ballad operas were satiric musical plays that used some of the conventions of opera, but without recitative. The lyrics of the airs in the piece are set to popular broadsheet ballads, opera arias, church hymns and folk tunes of the time.

During the first hundred years or so of its history, the theatre was primarily a playhouse, with the Letters Patent granted by Charles II giving Covent Garden and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane exclusive rights to present spoken drama in London. Despite the frequent interchangeability between the Covent Garden and Drury Lane companies, competition was intense, often presenting the same plays at the same time. Rich introduced pantomime to the repertoire, himself performing (under the stage name John Lun, as Harlequin) and a tradition of seasonal pantomime continued at the modern theatre, until 1939. [6]

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane West End theatre building in Covent Garden, London, England

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, commonly known as Drury Lane, is a West End theatre and Grade I listed building in Covent Garden, London, England. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dated back to 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London still in use. According to the author Peter Thomson, for its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre". For most of that time, it was one of a handful of patent theatres, granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" drama in London.

Pantomime form of musical comedy stage production, developed in the United Kingdom and mostly performed during Christmas and New Year season

Pantomime is a type of musical comedy stage production designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is performed throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and in other English-speaking countries, especially during the Christmas and New Year season. Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing. It employs gender-crossing actors and combines topical humour with a story more or less based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.

Harlequin character from the Commedia dellarte

Harlequin is the best-known of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte. The role is traditionally believed to have been introduced by Zan Ganassa in the late 16th century, was definitively popularized by the Italian actor Tristano Martinelli in Paris in 1584–1585, and became a stock character after Martinelli's death in 1630.

In 1734, Covent Garden presented its first ballet, Pygmalion. [2] Marie Sallé discarded tradition and her corset and danced in diaphanous robes. [7] George Frideric Handel was named musical director of the company, at Lincoln's Inn Fields, in 1719, but his first season of opera, at Covent Garden, was not presented until 1734. His first opera was Il pastor fido followed by Ariodante (1735), the première of Alcina , and Atalanta the following year. There was a royal performance of Messiah in 1743, which was a success and began a tradition of Lenten oratorio performances. From 1735 until his death in 1759 he gave regular seasons there, and many of his operas and oratorios were written for Covent Garden or had their first London performances there. He bequeathed his organ to John Rich, and it was placed in a prominent position on the stage, but was among many valuable items lost in a fire that destroyed the theatre on 20 September 1808. In 1792 [8] the architect Henry Holland rebuilt the auditorium, within the existing shell of the building but deeper and wider than the old auditorium, thus increasing capacity.

Marie Sallé French ballet dancer

Marie Sallé (1707–1756) was a French dancer and choreographer in the 18th century known for her expressive, dramatic performances rather than a series of "leaps and frolics" typical of ballet of her time.

George Frideric Handel 18th-century German, later British, Baroque composer

George FridericHandel was a German, later British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle-upon-Saale and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

<i>Il pastor fido</i> play by Giovanni Battista Guarini

Il pastor fido is a pastoral tragicomedy set in Arcadia by Giovanni Battista Guarini, first published in 1590 in Venice.

Second theatre

Satirical drawing, 1811, of the "Pigeon Holes" that flanked the upper gallery at Covent Garden Covent-garden-1.jpg
Satirical drawing, 1811, of the "Pigeon Holes" that flanked the upper gallery at Covent Garden
1810 illustration of the auditorium of the second theatre New Covent Garden Theatre Microcosm edited.jpg
1810 illustration of the auditorium of the second theatre
Joseph Grimaldi, as Clown Joseph Grimaldi.jpg
Joseph Grimaldi, as Clown

Rebuilding began in December 1808, and the second Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (designed by Robert Smirke) opened on 18 September 1809 with a performance of Macbeth followed by a musical entertainment called The Quaker. [9] The actor-manager John Philip Kemble, raised seat prices to help recoup the cost of rebuilding and the cost of an increased ground rent introduced by the landowner, the Duke of Bedford, but the move was so unpopular that audiences disrupted performances by beating sticks, hissing, booing and dancing. The Old Price Riots lasted over two months, and the management was finally forced to accede to the audience's demands. [10]

During this time, entertainments were varied; opera and ballet were presented, but not exclusively. Kemble engaged a variety of acts, including the child performer Master Betty ; the great clown Joseph Grimaldi made his name at Covent Garden. Many famous actors of the day appeared at the theatre, including the tragediennes Sarah Siddons and Eliza O'Neill, the Shakespearean actors William Charles Macready, Edmund Kean and his son Charles. On 25 March 1833 Edmund Kean collapsed on stage while playing Othello, and died two months later. [11] [2]

In 1806, the pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi (The Garrick of Clowns) had performed his greatest success in Harlequin and Mother Goose; or the Golden Egg at Covent Garden, and this was subsequently revived, at the new theatre. Grimaldi was an innovator: his performance as Joey introduced the clown to the world, building on the existing role of Harlequin derived from the Commedia dell'arte . His father had been ballet-master at Drury Lane, and his physical comedy, his ability to invent visual tricks and buffoonery, and his ability to poke fun at the audience were extraordinary. [12]

Early pantomimes were performed as mimes accompanied by music, but as Music hall became popular, Grimaldi introduced the pantomime dame to the theatre and was responsible for the tradition of audience singing. By 1821 dance and clowning had taken such a physical toll on Grimaldi that he could barely walk, and he retired from the theatre. [13] By 1828, he was penniless; Drury Lane held a benefit concert for him after Covent Garden refused. [14]

The theatre in the 1820s Covent Garden Theatre 1827-28.jpg
The theatre in the 1820s
Harlequin's escape into the bottle (print) An Apology To The Town, For Himself And The Bottle.png
Harlequin's escape into the bottle (print)

In 1817, bare flame gaslight had replaced the former candles and oil lamps that lighted the Covent Garden stage. [15] This was an improvement, but in 1837 Macready employed limelight in the theatre for the first time, during a performance of a pantomime, Peeping Tom of Coventry. Limelight used a block of quicklime heated by an oxygen and hydrogen flame. This allowed the use of spotlights to highlight performers on the stage. [16]

The Theatres Act 1843 broke the patent theatres' monopoly of drama. At that time Her Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket was the main centre of ballet and opera but after a dispute with the management in 1846 Michael Costa, conductor at Her Majesty's, transferred his allegiance to Covent Garden, bringing most of the company with him. The auditorium was completely remodeled after an 1846 fire, during the following 1846–47 seasons, the company performed at the Lyceum Theatre. [17] The theatre reopened as the Royal Italian Opera on 6 April 1847 with a performance of Rossini's Semiramide . [18]

In 1852, Louis Antoine Jullien the French eccentric composer of light music and conductor presented an opera of his own composition, Pietro il Grande. Five performances were given of the 'spectacular', including live horses on the stage and very loud music. Critics considered it a complete failure and Jullien was ruined and fled to America. [19] [20] Costa and his successors presented all operas in Italian, even those originally written in French, German or English, until 1892, when Gustav Mahler presented the debut of Wagner's Ring cycle at Covent Garden. [21] [note 2] The word "Italian" was then quietly dropped from the name of the opera house. [23]

Third theatre

On 5 March 1856, the theatre was again destroyed by fire. [24] Work on the third theatre, designed by Edward Middleton Barry, [2] started in 1857 and the new building, which still remains as the nucleus of the present theatre, was built by Lucas Brothers [25] and opened on 15 May 1858 with a performance of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots .

The Royal English Opera company under the management of Louisa Pyne and William Harrison, made their last performance at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 11 December 1858 and took up residence at the theatre on 20 December 1858 with a performance of Michael Balfe's Satanella [26] and continued at the theatre until 1864.

The theatre became the Royal Opera House (ROH) in 1892, and the number of French and German works offered increased. Winter and summer seasons of opera and ballet were given, and the building was also used for pantomime, recitals and political meetings.

During the First World War, the theatre was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works for use as a furniture repository. [24]

From 1934 to 1936, Geoffrey Toye was managing director, working alongside the Artistic Director, Sir Thomas Beecham. Despite early successes, Toye and Beecham eventually fell out, and Toye resigned. [27]

During the Second World War the ROH became a dance hall. [2] There was a possibility that it would remain so after the war but, following lengthy negotiations, the music publishers Boosey & Hawkes acquired the lease of the building. David Webster was appointed General Administrator, and Sadler's Wells Ballet was invited to become the resident ballet company. The Covent Garden Opera Trust was created and laid out plans "to establish Covent Garden as the national centre of opera and ballet, employing British artists in all departments, wherever that is consistent with the maintenance of the best possible standards ..." [28]

The Royal Opera House reopened on 20 February 1946 with a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in an extravagant new production designed by Oliver Messel. [24] Webster, with his music director Karl Rankl, immediately began to build a resident company. In December 1946, they shared their first production, Purcell's The Fairy-Queen , with the ballet company. On 14 January 1947, the Covent Garden Opera Company gave its first performance of Bizet's Carmen .

Before the grand opening, the Royal Opera House presented one of the Robert Mayer Children's concerts on Saturday, 9 February 1946.

Reconstruction from the 1980s forward

The Royal Opera House, Bow Street Facade, after reconstruction Royal Opera House at night.jpg
The Royal Opera House, Bow Street Façade, after reconstruction

Several renovations had taken place to parts of the house in the 1960s, including improvements to the amphitheatre but the theatre clearly needed a major overhaul. In 1975 the Labour government gave land adjacent to the Royal Opera House for a long-overdue modernisation, refurbishment, and extension. In the early 1980s the first part of a major renovation included an extension to the rear of the theatre on the James Street corner. The development added two new ballet studios, offices, a Chorus Rehearsal Room and the Opera Rehearsal room. Dressing rooms were also added.

The Royal Opera House auditorium, stage to the left ROH auditorium 003.jpg
The Royal Opera House auditorium, stage to the left
Facing the stage from the Amphitheatre ROH auditorium 001.jpg
Facing the stage from the Amphitheatre

By 1995, sufficient funds from the Arts Lottery through Arts Council England [29] and private fundraising had been raised to enable the company to embark upon a major £213 million reconstruction of the building by Carillion, [30] which took place between 1997 and 1999, under the chairmanship of Sir Angus Stirling. This involved the demolition of almost the whole site including several adjacent buildings to make room for a major increase in the size of the complex. The auditorium itself remained, but well over half of the complex is new.

The design team was led by Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones of Dixon Jones BDP as architects. The acoustic designers were Rob Harris and Jeremy Newton of Arup Acoustics. The building engineer was Arup with Stanhope as developer. [31]

Sky bridge connects the Royal Ballet School (left) to the Royal Opera House (right) on the 4th floor. The bridge was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects Floral Street, Covent Garden - - 1550247.jpg
Sky bridge connects the Royal Ballet School (left) to the Royal Opera House (right) on the 4th floor. The bridge was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The new building has the same traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium as before, but with greatly improved technical, rehearsal, office, and educational facilities. Additionally, a new studio theatre, the Linbury, as well as more public space was created. The inclusion of the adjacent old Floral Hall, which had fallen into disrepair and was used as a scenery store before redevelopment, created a new and extensive public gathering place. The venue is now claimed by the ROH to be the most modern theatre facility in Europe.

Surtitles, projected onto a screen above the proscenium, have been used for all opera performances since they were introduced for school matinees in 1984. Since the reopening of the theatre in 1999 an electronic libretto system provides translations onto small video screens for some seats, and additional monitors and screens are to be introduced to other parts of the house.

In 2014 design work, known as the Open Up Project, began with the aim of improving the entrances, lobby areas and the Linbury Theatre. [32] [33] As part of the Open Up Project, IQ Projects were tasked with the renovation of the upper floor bar area and restaurant utilising various elements of bespoke glazing. [34]


Paul Hamlyn Hall

Exterior of the Paul Hamlyn Hall Royal Opera House - Floral Hall - Bow Street - London - 240404.jpg
Exterior of the Paul Hamlyn Hall

The Paul Hamlyn Hall is a large iron and glass structure adjacent to, and with direct access to, the main opera house building. The hall now acts as the atrium and main public area of the opera house, with a champagne bar, restaurant and other hospitality services, and also providing access to the main auditorium at all levels.

The redevelopment of the Floral Hall went ahead on the strength of a pledge of £10m from the philanthropist Alberto Vilar and for a number of years, it was known as the Vilar Floral Hall; however Vilar failed to make good his pledge. As a result, the name was changed in September 2005 to the Paul Hamlyn Hall, after the opera house received a donation of £10m from the estate of Paul Hamlyn, towards its education and development programmes. [35]

As well as acting as a main public area for performances in the main auditorium, the Paul Hamlyn Hall is also used for hosting a number of events, including private functions, dances, exhibitions, concerts, and workshops.

Linbury Studio Theatre

The Linbury Studio Theatre is a flexible, secondary performance space, constructed below ground level within the Royal Opera House. It has retractable raked seating and a floor which can be raised or lowered to form a studio floor, a raised stage, or a stage with orchestra pit. The theatre can accommodate up to 400 patrons and host a variety of different events. It has been used for private functions, traditional theatre shows, and concerts, as well as community and educational events, product launches, dinners and exhibitions, etc., and is one of the most technologically advanced performance venues in London with its own public areas, including a bar and cloakroom. [36] [37]

The Linbury is most notable for hosting performances of experimental and independent dance and music, by independent companies and as part of the ROH2, the contemporary producing arm of the Royal Opera House. The Linbury Studio Theatre regularly stages performances by the Royal Ballet School and also hosts the Young British Dancer of the Year competition.

The venue was constructed as part of the 90s redevelopment of the Royal Opera House. It is named in recognition of donations made by the Linbury Trust towards the redevelopment. The Trust is operated by Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover and his wife Anya Linden, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet. The name Linbury is derived from the names Linden and Sainsbury. [38] It was opened in 1999 with a collaboration from three Croydon secondary schools (including Coloma Convent Girls' School and Edenham High School) in an original performance called About Face. [39]

Royal Opera House, Manchester

In 2008 the Royal Opera House and Manchester City Council began planning stages a new development known as Royal Opera House, Manchester. The proposal would have seen the Palace Theatre in Manchester refurbished, to create a theatre capable of staging productions by both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera. It was intended that the Royal Opera House would take residence of the theatre for an annual 18-week season, staging 16 performances by the Royal Opera, 28 performances by the Royal Ballet and other small-scale productions. [40] [41] A year later The Lowry sent an open letter to the then Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Ben Bradshaw, Arts Council England, Manchester City Council and the ROH, calling for the scheme, in its current form, to be scrapped. [42] In 2010 it was announced that the project was being shelved as part of larger arts-funding cuts. [43] [44]

High House Production Park (High House, Purfleet)

ROH's Manoukian Production Facility at High House, Purfleet Royal Opera House production facility.JPG
ROH's Manoukian Production Facility at High House, Purfleet

The Royal Opera House opened a scenery-making facility for their operas and ballets at High House, Purfleet, Essex on 6 December 2010. The building was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects. [45] The East of England Development Agency, which partly funded developments on the park, notes that "the first phase includes the Royal Opera House's Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop and Community areas". [45]

The Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre, also designed by Nicholas Hare Associates, opened in September 2015, and provides a costume-making facility for the Royal Opera House and a training centre for students of costume-making from South Essex College. The building also houses the Royal Opera House's collection of historically important costumes.

Other elements at High House, Purfleet include The Backstage Centre, a new technical theatre and music training centre which is currently run by the National College for Creative Industries and was formally opened by Creative & Cultural Skills in March 2013, alongside renovated farm buildings. Acme studios opened a complex of 43 artist studios in Summer 2013. [46]

Opera at the Royal Opera House after 1945

Ballet at the Royal Opera House after 1945

Other uses

In addition to opera and ballet performances, the Royal Opera House has hosted a number of other events including:

See also


  1. Admission to the 55 boxes was 5 shillings (1/4 £), half a crown (1/8 £) to the 'pit', and the gallery cost one shilling (1/20 £). A seat on the stage cost ten shillings. It was allowed to send servants to arrive at three to save places on the stage for their masters and mistresses. £115 was taken at the box office on the first night.
  2. Anton Seidl had conducted the very first Ring in England (sung in German) at Her Majesty's Theatre from 5–9 May 1882. [22]

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ROH2 was the contemporary arm of the Royal Opera House until 2012, commissioning and producing dance and contemporary opera works in the Linbury Studio Theatre, Clore Studio Upstairs, Paul Hamlyn Hall and various other locations situated both within the Royal Opera House and outside. ROH2 also provided additional artistic resource to partners and associate artists in order to help the organisation realise its strategic aims. ROH2 focused on developing the art forms, creating opportunities for emerging artists and attracting new and diverse audiences to the Royal Opera House. From the start of the 2012/13 season the work of ROH2 has been undertaken by the 'studio programmes' of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.

John Peter Bologna (1775 –1846), known as Jack Bologna on stage, was an Italian actor and dancer, who spent much time in England popularising the role of Harlequin in Georgian pantomimes and harlequinades in the early part of the 1800s at the Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden Theatres.

Abanazar is a magician and the primary antagonist in the Aladdin pantomime. He was also the basis for Jafar in the Disney version of Aladdin.

Carlo Antonio Delpini Italian actor

Carlo Antonio Delpini was an Italian pantomimist and theatrical manager.

William Roxby Beverly or Beverley (c.1810–1889) was an English theatrical scene painter, known also as an artist in oils and watercolour. William John Lawrence, writing in the Dictionary of National Biography, considered him second only to Clarkson Stanfield among British scene painters of the 19th century.

The somewhat involved history of the ownership and management of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden can be split up into three main categories: the managers of the various theatrical and operatic companies which played there ; the leaseholders of the opera houses built on the land; and the owners of the freehold. From the early 20th century the theatre's management tended to be split between a general administrator and a musical/artistic director.

William Payne (pantomimist) English actor and pantomimist

William Henry Schofield Payne was an actor and pantomimist who created much of the stage business connected with the character Harlequin. He was the father of the Victorian era pantomime clowns the Payne Brothers.



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Cited sources

Further reading

Coordinates: 51°30′47″N00°07′21″W / 51.51306°N 0.12250°W / 51.51306; -0.12250