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London Coliseum

  • Music
  • Covent Garden
London Coliseum_exterior.jpg

Time Out says

This grand Covent Garden opera house is the home of the ENO

A few years ago, the London Coliseum was having as much drama offstage as on; huge funding cuts, high-profile exits, and even strikes from the chorus made it a venue in turmoil. Today, the home of the English National Opera still isn't quite as secure in its status as the Royal Opera House, London's other leading opera venue. But under new boss Daniel Kramer's regime, it's considerably cooler.  

The American-born Kramer cut his teeth on the theatre scene as well as in European opera houses, and it shows in a programme that mixes returning opera classics and edgier experiments. There have been ambitious new commissions, and link-ups with contemporary artists like Anish Kapoor. ENO is also increasingly staging work outside its home at the Coliseum, and has put its considerable mite behind musical collabs with London theatres like The Gate, Wilton's Music Hall, and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. 

But you'll still find the traditional bread-and-butter of the ENO's line-up in the Coliseum's vast 2,359-seat auditorium, which drips with gilt and Classical-inspired statues, and has four tiers of balconied seating under a lavish domed ceiling. Built as a grand music hall in 1904 by the renowned architect Frank Matcham, was restored to its former glory in 2004 as part of an £80 million restoration.

Unlike at the Royal Opera House, all works here are performed in English, making it an accessible intro the world of opera. Stalls seats are often formidably expensive, but there are some real bargains to be found in the vertiginous heights of the gallery. 


St Martin's Lane
Tube: Charing Cross
Opening hours:
Mon–Sat 10am–6pm , or later when a show is on
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Spirited Away

  • Drama

Stage-loving Studio Ghibli fans are being treated like never before at the moment: hot on the heels of the RSC’s hugely acclaimed ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, here comes this spectacular Japanese production of Hayao Miyazaki 2001 masterpiece ‘Spirited Away’.  Adapted for the stage by John Caird – perhaps best known as co-director of ‘Les Miserables’ – with puppets by Toby Olié, there’s so much Brit talent at the heart of the production that a transfer always seemed pretty much bolted on, and it’ll play a limited run at the vast London Coliseum as part of a wider international tour.  If none of the above makes any sense to you, Ghibli is a legendary Japanese animation studio that has produced a string of much-loved, generally fantasy-tinged features over the last several decades. ‘Spirited Away’ is perhaps the quintessential work by Ghibli head honcho Miyazaki, concerning Chihiro, a young girl who inadvertently crosses over into a world filled with strange spirits of varying friendliness. Presented in Japanese with English surtitles, Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi will reprise their role as Chihiro, and the large cast will be accompanied by a live orchestra playing Joe Hisaishi’s score.

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