The recently redeveloped Royal Opera House is the home of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. The first incarnation of the building was built in 1732 and staged all manner of performances- not simply opera. The building was destroyed by fire in 1808. The building was fully rebuilt but sadly fire once again ravaged the site in 1856. The current incarnation was designed by EM Barrie and completed in 1858- the portico features a frieze depicting both tragedy and comedy- by John Flaxman.
Celebrated conductor Gustav Mahler conducted the first British performance of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ at the Royal Opera House in 1892. During the 1990’s the Royal Opera House underwent a massive renovation. £214 million was spent on refurbishing and extending the venue. The new building links Covent Garden Piazza with Bow Street and boasts a magnificent floral façade. The building is now open to the public during the day- except when there are daytime recitals in progress. The building houses bars and restaurants and often stages free performances.
Ninety minute tours of the building take place three times a day. The tour illustrates the history of the building and the impact of the new developments on the day to day running of the Royal Opera House.
Top bars for celebrity spotting
If there’s one thing celebrities know how to do it’s dressing up and looking fine. At the Royal Opera House Bar they can sail in under the pretence of seeing a show and simply display their dapper suited selves to anyone who’ll look – David Walliams is a regular, although he did attend Swan Lake having been spotted.