41 Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 8RF
Booking until 10 March 2014
Puccini’s last opera, Turandot, is a dark and erotic fairytale. The opera contains arias such as ‘Signore, ascolta’, as Liù appeals to Calaf not to attempt Turandot’s deadly riddles, to Turandot’s defiant ‘In questa reggia’. Turandot also contains one of the most famous of all arias – ‘Nessun dorma’, sung as Calaf anticipates winning the Princess’s hand. Andrei ?erban’s staging – one of the most spectacular in The Royal Opera’s repertory – transports an audience to a beautiful but savage world. Sally Jacobs’s colourful sets and costumes are inspired by ancient Chinese culture, reflecting the traditional Chinese melodies woven into the score.
Booking until 16 January 2014
In Peter Wright’s classic production, the stage sparkles with theatrical magic – a Christmas tree grows before our eyes, toy soldiers come to life to fight the villainous Mouse King and Clara is whisked to the Land of Sweets on a golden sleigh. Tchaikovsky’s score contains some of the best-known melodies in ballet, from the flurrying sounds of the Waltz of the Snowflakes to the dream-like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the vigorous Russian Dance. Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs draw upon 19th-century images of Christmas, making this a classic production for the festive season. The Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition at the Royal Opera House, and tickets are notoriously quick to sell out. Get yours whilst you still can!
Booking from 1 February 2014 until 24 February 2014
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The Royal Opera House Box Office is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm (except for major holidays) and on Sunday’s from 4 hours before a main house performance or 2 hours before a Linbury Clore performance (never before 10am)
Originally named the Theatre Royal, the Royal Opera House has existed since the 18th Century, with the first site built in 1732, making it one of the oldest theatrical locations in Europe.
The Opera House first opened in 1734 with a ballet. George Frideric Handel’s operatic seasons began just a year later, with many of his famous pieces written especially for the Covent Garden venue. Handel’s seasons included early showings of Atlanta (1736) and Bernice (1737).
Alongside operas, the venue was largely used as a playhouse, with shows often running in rep with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The theatre has been twice destroyed by raging fires; first in 1808 and again in 1857. Between the two fires the theatre was rebuilt and mainly housed operas, ballets and pantomimes.
After the theatre was destroyed by fire again, the third and final theatre was built in 1958, official taking the name of the Royal Opera House in 1892. Things ran smoothly at the theatre for just over 20 years until the outbreak of World War I, when the theatre was used as a furniture repository.
The theatre has a brief active period in peacetime between the wars however it was soon converted to a dance hall throughout the World War II.
After an agreement laid out by the Covent Garden Opera Trust, the Royal Opera House was re-established with a production of The Sleeping Beauty (1946), and the first production from the Covent Garden Opera Company, Carmen (1947). Both the ballet company and the CGOC were to become the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera in 1968.
The theatre was largely renovated and reconstructed, reopening in 1999. Since the turn of the millennium, the theatre has continued to act as its own producing house, with the Royal Opera House’s first ever West End transfer, The Wind in the Willows, which runs at the Duchess Theatre throughout the winter of 2013/14.
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