La Boheme at the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in London is one of the world’s most prestigious venues for opera and ballet, regularly playing host to the finest singers and dancers from across the globe.

  • The Royal Opera House dates back to 1732 – but it has been rebuilt and redesigned several time since then.  For the first century of its existence, the building was known as the Theatre Royal and was used mainly as a playhouse. Charles II granted the venue with the ‘Letters Patent’; along with the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the Royal Opera House had exclusive rights to showcase spoken drama in the capital.
  • Hundreds of works have been composed specifically for their premiere at the Royal Opera House: everything from operas and oratorios by Handel to Mark Anthony Turnage’s controversial yet acclaimed opera Anna Nicole, which tells the story of the glamour model Anna Nicole Smith.
  • When it comes to the building itself, the Royal Opera House has been beset by bad luck, experiencing major and extensive fires in 1808 and 1857.
  • Although many features remain from the 1858 rebuilding of the Royal Opera House, a thorough refurbishment in the 1990s led to an overhaul of much of the complex.  New education spaces were added, and the venue became an altogether more versatile and modern space – without losing any of the historic grandeur for which it is famous.
  • Ballet has been presented at the Royal Opera House since 1734.  The Royal Ballet regularly performs there, as do all sorts of prestigious visiting ballet companies from across the world.
  • The Royal Opera House has been associated with many illustrious principal conductors over the years.  Today, it’s Sir Antonio Pappano – but back in the 1700s, it was one George Frideric Handel.

Did You Know?
Since December 2010, the Royal Opera House has also had a site in Purfleet, Essex.  Operas aren’t performed there, though; instead, it’s the location of the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Facility, where the scenery for all the Royal Opera House’s productions is made.



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