The Royal Opera House is steeped in the rich history of opera and ballet gracing the British stage. It is home to both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, who perform with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
The current building is preceded by two buildings to have stood on the Covent Garden site, which were both destroyed by fire. The venue now standing on Bow Street, was designed by E.M Barry in 1857 and opened in May 1858 with a performance of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots. The design features a grand classical portico fronting and a striking glass and iron Floral Hall, which originally doubled as a flower market and space to host grand balls.
The Royal Opera House has seen many of the most famous names in opera and ballet perform within its venues, with the first important musical work presented by Handel. For 24 years, between 1735 until his death in 1759, the famous composer had close ties with Covent Garden as both a composer and organist.
Alongside the main performance space, the building has numerous other creative spaces, including the Paul Hamlyn Hall, which is the venues’ main atrium and is also used for private functions and exhibitions.
Complimenting the Main Stage, the Royal Opera House is also home to the Linbury Theatre, a world-class stage for The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and their collaborating artists and partners, and is the West End's newest and most intimate venue. The auditorium is newly re-developed and seats up to 406 people. Opening in December 2018, the inaugural Season includes works from the 18th century through to world premieres.
Since 1892, the theatre has held its current name of The Royal Opera House, due its outstanding reputation and extensive repertoire.