There’s something about the Royal Opera House (or ‘Covent Garden’ as it is often called) which transforms a trip to the theatre into a truly special, memorable, breath-taking evening. Not only is it one of London’s most iconic buildings, but the quality of the performers and stage sets are unrivalled.
La Traviata | The Royal Opera House
As our first event of 2020, and part of our on going collaboration with the Royal Opera House, LLW was invited along to see the opera, Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. The tragic tale of the Parisian courtesan, Violetta, and her lover, Alfredo is heart-wrenching. Even if you don’t know the opera, you will recognise many of the gorgeous arias. The sets are incredible, especially the ball scene, and the denouement (you can probably guess) is so sad, heart-rending and beautiful.
Visiting the ROH
We know the Opera House has a reputation for being super-expensive, but it doesn’t have to be prohibitive. There are plenty of affordable seats if you don’t mind being further from the action. The acoustics within the theatre are top-notch, so you really don’t miss out. For the truly enthusiastic culture-vultures, you can even stand for as little as £11!
Royal Opera House | ‘Opening up’
In the spirit of giving more access to more people, the ‘Open Up’ project was finished about a year ago. There’s so much to do at the Opera House now. The ground floor cafe is a great open-plan meeting place, with informal walk-in lunch time recitals on the lower floor. The newly opened much smaller Linbury Theatre has a programme of shorter, cheaper and informal performances.
The bar and restaurant at the top of the opera house is a cool, lovely place to meet for a supper or a drink. The terrace overlooks the piazza with wonderful views of Covent Garden. It’s also great for people-watching!
For the curious, we couldn’t recommend the back-stage tours higher (about 1 hour 15mins). We loved the one we did in December. Our guide was insightful, informative and very funny. We watched the Royal Ballet practising (a highlight), saw the costume-dying room and looked down onto the back of the stage where the revolving sets are ready for action. It was just brilliant.
Booking the Royal Opera House
For the main ballets and opera, you need to plan well in advance, but you may get lucky with returns. Top picks right now are: Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, La Traviata and La Boheme. The ROH summer programme, which has just landed, includes Madam Butterfly and Tosca.
We can’t emphasise enough though that there is so much more going on than just the main events. From backstage tours to a Friday lunchtime recital, it’s well worth being a little curious for 2020.