The Royal Opera House is hosting special free events for members of the armed forces and their families on Valentine’s Day.
The day will culminate in a performance of opera and ballet, presented by Joanna Lumley.
There will also be opportunities for families to try on costumes from Covent Garden productions, try out instruments, meet the backstage creative team and enjoy live music in the Paul Hamlyn Hall.
Tickets are being made available to veterans and serving soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq through the new charity Tickets for Troops, which organises free tickets to big events.
The evening performance on 14 February will feature excerpts of La bohème sung by Charles Castronovo and Ekaterina Siurina with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and conductor Paul Wynne Griffiths. The curtains will then be thrown back, and unusually the audience will be let in on the secret of stage management, as the huge opera set is removed and re-set for The Royal Ballet to perform Tales of Beatrix Potter.
Tony Hall, ROH Chief Executive, comments on the initiative, "Opening our doors to new audiences, and families in particular, is very important for us." Lumley, who launched the event at the Royal Opera House, said of Tickets for Troops, "This is a win-win arrangement: brave and deserving troops get to see shows, concerts, fights and games: and we in the world of entertainment and sport get a chance to show them that we think they are the best of the best, and support them with all our hearts. Fabulous!!"