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Royal Opera House

  • Music
  • Covent Garden
  • Recommended
  1. Theatre stalls - © Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
    Theatre stalls - © Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
  2. Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
    Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
  3. Baroque performance - © Belinda Lawley / Time Out
    Baroque performance - © Belinda Lawley / Time Out
  4. Stage view - © Belinda Lawley / Time Out
    Stage view - © Belinda Lawley / Time Out
  5. Wayne McGregor in rehearsal - © Ed Marshall
    Wayne McGregor in rehearsal - © Ed Marshall
  6. Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
    Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
  7. Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
    Backstage at the ROH - © Rob Greig
  8. Ornate Architecture - © Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
    Ornate Architecture - © Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
  9. Bridge of Aspirations - © Britta Jaschinski/Time Out
    Bridge of Aspirations - © Britta Jaschinski/Time Out
  10. © Michael Franke
    © Michael Franke
  11. Exterior - © Susie Rea / Time Out
    Exterior - © Susie Rea / Time Out
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Time Out Says

This world class opera house is one of Covent Garden's most famous landmarks

The Royal Opera House is secure in its status as one of the world's great opera houses, pulling in crowds and plaudits while, a few streets away, the London Coliseum's footing is a bit less secure. It's benefited from a massively ambitious 1999 refurb, which extended and opened out its premises to include the restored Floral Hall (an elegant Victorian iron and glass structure) and a new studio space, the Linbury. Subsequent updates have turned the front of house areas around its massive auditorium into gleaming white, luxurious restaurants and bars where opera buffs and balletomanes alike can scoff a cucumber sandwich or two. 

There's been a theatre on the ROH's current site since 1728, when audiences flocked to Covent Garden to hear new works by Handel. The current Royal Opera House is its third incarnation; it opened in 1858, with an imposing NeoClassical facade that mimicked the design of its predecessors. Its horseshoe-shaped, 2,256-seater auditorium is one of the West End's largest, and offers a traditional, imposing setting for both operas and ballet spectacles (although the sightlines from the cheap gallery seats might leave you admiring the dance's legs and not much more).

As well as housing The Royal Ballet, the ROH regularly invites visiting companies such as The Bolshoi. Meanwhile the venue’s smaller spaces – Linbury Studio Theatre and Clore Studio – offer a sporadic line-up of experimental and independent dance and music works.

The Royal Opera House is a Grade I-listed building, and with its beautiful modern additions it is a striking Covent Garden landmark. Book in advance for a behind-the-scenes tour, or just drop in for a visit: the foyer spaces, café, restaurant and bar are open to the public every day from 10am.

Details

Address:
Bow St
London
WC2E 9DD
Transport:
Tube: Covent Garden
Opening hours:
Check website for show times
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What's On

Royal Opera House Live at Lunch

  • Concerts

Enjoy a free performance at the Royal Opera House on your next Friday lunch break. The Live at Lunch series will host performers from the Royal Ballet, Royal Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, alongside a range of guest artists. You don’t need to book for the free shows, just show up and grab a seat on the day. At around 45 minutes long, you can squeeze one in during your lunch hour if you work nearby, which sounds way more interesting than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while you wolf down a meal deal at your desk. Added bonus: the Time Out office is just round the corner, so you might even get to spot an editor or two in the wild. See you there!

The Royal Ballet: ‘Romeo & Juliet’

  • Ballet

Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan and first performed in 1966, The Royal Ballet’s much-loved ‘Romeo & Juliet’ returns to the Royal Opera House this February, as well as being screened in cinemas nationwide on Valentine’s Day. Prokofiev’s music is familiarly stirring, the costumes are rich in earthy tones and there’s all sorts of swaggering and swashbuckling from the rival families, but it’s the intimate drama between the central couple that makes this show soar, or not. Leads pairings for this run include real-life couple Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales and other Principal Dancer pairings Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, and Yasmine Naghdi and Vadim Muntagirov.

Royal Opera House Tea Dance

  • Classes and workshops

This is your chance to cha-cha with the Royal Opera House Dance Band. Attend a tea dance to show off your tango, waltz and quickstep. Of course there will be tea, as well as biscuits and coffee, in the elegant surroundings of Paul Hamlyn Hall.

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