The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in London and Great Britain. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building.
The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès.
The Royal Ballet is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Under the directorship of Kevin O’Hare, the Company unites tradition and innovation in world-class performances at our Covent Garden home.
The Company’s extensive repertory embraces 19th-century classics, the singular legacy of works by Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and a compelling new canon by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon.
The Orchestra performs in concerts of their own, including performances at the Royal Opera House with Antonio Pappano. They have also performed at venues worldwide including Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Cadogan Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and on tour with The Royal Opera.
Members of the Orchestra play an active role in events across the Royal Opera House, including working with the Learning and Participation teams. The Orchestra accompanies performances that are streamed all over the world, including through cinema screenings and broadcasts. They appear on many CDs and DVDs including Pappano’s acclaimed studio recording of Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo and Nina Stemme.
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was founded in 1946 when the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II.