Theaters around the world:
Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House is an opera house located in Covent Garden, central London. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theater Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, the first season of operas by George Friederic Händel began. In 1728, John Rich, actor-manger of the Duke’s Company at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theater, commissioned The Beggar’s Opera from John Gray. The success of this venture provided him with capital to build the Theater Royal (designed by Edward Shepherd) at the site of an ancient convent garden. Served as a playhouse, Convent Garden presented it’s first ballet in 1734, Pygmalion. Even if, George Frideric Handel was named musical director of the Lincoln’s Inn Field in 1719, the first season of opera was presented from 1734.

So, the first opera was Il pastor fido, followed by Ariodante (1735), Alcina and Atlanta (1736). In 1745 was a royal performance of Messiah. Its success resulted in a tradition of Lenten oratorio performances. From 1735 until his death in 1759, Händel gave regular season at Covent Garden. Moreover, many of his works and oratorios premiered in London. Much of the theater was destroyed in 1808. In December of that year, the reconstruction of the theater began. The new theater was designed by Robert Smirke (1780-1867). A few months later, on September 18, 1809, the opening of the second theater took place with a performance of Macbeth followed by a musical entertainment called The Quaker. During this time, entertainments were vaired. Opera and ballet were not exclusive. The manager, John Philip Kemble brought to the public a wide variety of shows, including children’s shows. The great clown Joseph Grimaldi made his name at Covent Garden.

Read the entire article here, in the 6th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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