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Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London). The original Covent Garden theatre was opened by John Rich in 1732; Handel used it for operas and oratorios, including the first London performance of Messiah, while the second half of the century saw both plays and English operas. In 1808 the theatre was destroyed by fire, reopening the following year and from 1847 housing the Royal Italian Opera in direct rivalry with Her Majesty's theatre. It burned down again in 1856; the present building designed by E. M. Barry opened in 1858. Many German and French operas were translated into Italian, although in 1892 ‘Italian’ was dropped from the Royal Opera's title and The Ring was given in German under Mahler. Patti was London's first Aida (1876), while Melba sang there many times. The dominant conductor during the first part of the 20th cent. was Beecham, while more recent musical directors include Solti and Davis. After the Second World War the theatre became home to the permanent Covent Garden Opera Company and Sadler's Wells Ballet (later known as the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet). Covent Garden has seen the premières of works by Holst, Walton, Britten, and especially Tippett.

Eric Cross

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Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House (originally Covent Garden Theatre) Home of the Royal Opera and, from 1946, of Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet). The theatre first opened in 1732. A modernized and rebuilt Opera House was completed in 1999. The Royal Opera traditionally performs works in their original language. See also English National Opera (ENO)

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Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House. See Covent Garden.

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