Royal Opera House

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
View of the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden , London , is Britain's premier opera house . It is home to the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, sometimes called the Covent Garden Orchestra .


First construction

Interior view of the theater before the fire in 1808

The first theater building at this point, the then Theater Royal (see Patent Theater ) was designed by Edward Shepherd . It opened on December 7, 1732 with a performance of William Congreve's The Way of the World . Although operas, for example by Handel , were performed as early as 1735 , the house remained mainly a theater. On September 20, 1808, however, it burned down. A German newspaper reported:

“On this morning at 4 o'clock on the 20th the same thing stood, we do not yet know the cause, suddenly in flames, and after 3 hours it was already in the ashes. The roof of the playhouse collapsed with a terrible crash. Several firefighters who had ventured into the interior of the building lost their lives in the process; Fifteen of them were already half-burned and pulled out from under the rubble. A significant number of others were badly damaged. The number of dead and wounded can be estimated at at least 40. 14 of the neighboring houses burned down. Almost nothing was saved in terms of theater decorations. Among the music that was destroyed by the fire, one particularly regrets the unprinted original pieces by Handel and other great composers. The Coventgardentheater has been guaranteed 58,000 pounds sterling. During the fire, bad guys had started stealing; 8 of them were arrested. "

Interior view of the new theater shortly after it opened (1810)

Second construction

After the building was destroyed, the architect Robert Smirke was commissioned to rebuild it immediately. A year later, on September 18, 1809, the theater reopened with a performance of Macbeth . In the period that followed, opera and ballet were shown alongside theater plays .

In 1846 the conductor Michael Costa came to the Theater Royal and with him almost his entire opera company. The interior of the theater was completely redesigned based on a design by Benedetto Albano. Eventually the house reopened as the Royal Italian Opera with Gioacchino Rossini's Semiramide .

Third construction

Paul Hamlyn Hall or Floral Hall
Main hall

On March 5, 1856, the building was completely destroyed again by a fire. Reconstruction was delayed by difficulties in financing. The reopening took place on May 15, 1858.

In 1892 the house officially became the Royal Opera House . The repertoire was constantly expanded. Outside the season, the house remained closed or was used for other purposes such as film screenings or cabaret. During the First World War the building was used as a storage room. Dancing teas were held there during the Second World War .

After the end of World War II, David Webster was appointed general manager of the house and the Sadler's Wells Ballet, under the direction of Ninette de Valois, was offered the house as a permanent home. The reopening took place on February 20, 1946 with a performance of Sleeping Beauty .

From 1996 to 2000 the building was renovated and expanded. During this time the house was closed.

The British Academy Film Awards have been presented every February at the Royal Opera House since 2007 .


According to the opera house, the best seats should be in the tenth row. These are the seats 7, 14, 15, 16 and 26 in the parquet of row K.

Web links

Commons : Royal Opera House  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See Augsburgische Ordinari Postzeitung, October 21, 1808, p. 1 ( digitized version )
  2. The perfect plan. Article in SZ-Magazin , No. 14/2009, p. 40.

Coordinates: 51 ° 30 ′ 46 ″  N , 0 ° 7 ′ 21 ″  W.