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All dolled up Only a few days to go until Gerald Barry’s The Intelligence Park opens in the Linbury Theatre. This surreal opera is set in Dublin in 1753, where a composer’s work on an opera is disrupted and intensified when he falls in love with the lead castrato, who at the same time elopes with the composer’s fiancée causing fantasy and reality to become mixed. The music, conducted by Jessica Cottis, is startling in every aspect of its range, making extravagant virtuoso demands of the six performers. #ROHintelligencepark
Too hot to Handel We’re very excited about the opening of Handel’s Agrippina on the Main Stage tomorrow. Joyce DiDonato plays Agrippina - the ultimate political operator - outrageous and blatant in her pursuit of power. The score boasts a succession of brilliant Baroque jewels - one after another come the bright, sparkling arias, here performed by a cast also including acclaimed British singers Iestyn Davies and Lucy Crowe. Tickets are available on our website. #ROHagrippina
A Verdi impressive performance The Royal Opera’s tour to Japan is coming to an end soon, with just a few performances left of Gounod’s Faust and Verdi’s Otello in Tokyo and Yokohama. Pictured here are Gerald Finley and Gregory Kunde performing as Iago and Otello in Verdi’s Shakespeare-inspired opera. Otello will return to the Royal Opera House later this year. #RoyalOperaJapan
What ghost around comes around In our current production of Don Giovanni, some of the musicians are required to perform on stage in costume - quite a different experience from their usual spot in the orchestra pit! Horn player Richard Bissill takes to the stage in a ghostly costume. His take on the whole experience? ‘Playing on stage adds an extra layer of excitement. Walking onto the stage in Don Giovanni with the lights blaring feels a bit surreal. You can’t really see anything but focus your attention on the monitors playing the conductor’s beat’. Don Giovanni is now on the Main Stage until 10 October. #rohdongiovanni
Tour de force Fancy exploring behind-the-scenes of our wonderful theatre? Come on one of our regular Backstage Tours! These tours include an introduction to the colourful history of the theatre, an insight into the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House and a look at different aspects of current productions. As we are a fully working theatre, each tour is a completely unique experience and may include opportunities to see The Royal Ballet in class, or the magnificent backstage technology in operation. Head to the link in bio to find out more.
Blast from the past Did you know that on this day in 1808, the first Royal Opera House was destroyed by fire? The first theatre on the Covent Garden site (then known as the Theatre Royal) was opened by theatre manager and actor John Rich in 1732. Built next to the city’s principal fruit and vegetable market (which moved to Vauxhall in 1974), it was primarily a playhouse for the first 100 years of its existence. Here is an amazing illustration of a performance in 1804, just four years before it burned to the ground. Image via ROH Collections
Eye-opening experience Today marks one year since we completed our ‘Open Up’ project - the redevelopment of our front of house spaces by Stanton Williams architects. This three year project involved the creation of a brand new café, improved bars, a refurbished restaurant, an improved shop and perhaps most importantly, a redesigned Linbury Theatre. We also developed a new Front of House programme. What have been your Royal Opera House highlights in the last year?
Handel with care Not long now until Handel’s Agrippina opens on the Main Stage! Starring Joyce DiDonato in the title role, the opera is considered Handel's first operatic masterpiece. When it premiered in 1709 it proved an immediate success and an unprecedented series of 27 consecutive performances followed. This production is brought to life with characteristic invention by director Barrie Kosky. Agrippina opens on Monday - head to our website to book tickets now!
Dot off the press Did you know we run a series of classes designed for little ones to explore the wonderful world of ballet? During Ballet Dots, babies and children with their parents and carers are encouraged to move together through creative, fun and sensory workshops, designed to complement early years development. Head to our website to find out more.
Stage before beauty On this day in 1809, the Royal Opera House reopened following a fire which destroyed the previous theatre the year before. Over the next thirty years, the theatre became increasingly popular with high society. By the 1830s, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would frequent the Royal Box up to four times a week in high season. However, in 1856 disaster struck once again. The theatre, hired for a masked ball by a man known as the 'Wizard of the North', burned to the ground following a night of revelry and had to be completely rebuilt. Much of the current Royal Opera House building dates back to this rebuild, including the beautiful velvet-clad auditorium, a Grade 1 listed building that seats some 2,250 people.
An Ashton-ishing performer Today marks 115 years since the birth of legendary British ballet dancer and choreographer Frederick Ashton. One of the most influential dance figures of the 20th century, Ashton was also the founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet. He is responsible for creating a vast corpus of work including La Fille mal gardée, Marguerite and Armand and Symphonic Variations. This fantastic photo series from 1951 shows him in his dressing room applying his make-up and costume for the role of Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty. Photograph by Roger Wood from ROH Collections