Right from the booking process- where you can get a photo of the view from your chosen seats on their website, through to the confirmations, to booking a meal in one of their restaurants & even a note to say that the road directly outside was to be closed on the day of our visit, the whole experience was smooth and user friendly.
Service at the Balconies Restaurant was professional and efficient. It seemed that each waitstaff only served about 4 tables, and with many being 2 tops, we never had to wait for anything. Menu choice is somewhat limited & is of the 'event catering' variety; however, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal, with a fillet of beef memorably well cooked. It was also great to have dessert & coffee during the interval at our table, thereby side-stepping the scrum for service at the bar. The restaurant's vantage point allowed us to take in and admire the beautiful interior, people watch and speculate on the other visitors' relationship status...Married & cheating; married & trying to cheat, if only his companion could get drunker; buying a drink for his wife but flirting with the male bartender; stood-up by the date & from the way he was standing, wishing he'd not taken his little blue pill so soon... there's an opera in here somewhere...
Signage to the auditorium could have been better as it is not clear where some of the levels/seats are. We were annoyingly sent [by their signs] to an entrance a whole level higher, only to walk back down to our seats, which were actually below an entrance a floor lower. Perhaps it is a function of traffic control?... which they could have done with some of, for the stampede at the end for the cloak-check.
What made the programme truly enjoyable was the 'subtitles' projected above the stage. It allows those who do not speak the language of the opera to engage in the quite awesome performances of the singers. A thoroughly enjoyable night spent reminding ourselves that culture comes in forms beyond HBO series on crystal Meth dealers...
One of the most beautiful theaters I've ever been too. You can opt for a dinner prior to the show. Would have been nice if there was a coffeehouse within the premises for heightened senses of sound and vision. They do have a full bar with the best of wines. Check out upcoming shows:
If you are looking for music and dance in London there is no finer place than the opera house. The interior of the building is simply stunning and it feels like stepping back into the past.
The Paul Hamlyn Champagne bar is one of my most favourite spots. It is a ritual now when at the ROH to get a pre show (and usually interval) glass of champagne. To hell with the cost! This place makes everything a special occasion. They also do some of the best smoked salmon sandwiches. Perfect for an indulgent nibble.
Of course, the standard of the music here is second to none and draws in the greatest singers, dancers, composers and players from all over the world.
They do cheaper tickets too for us poorer folk (so there is no excuse to miss out) which also means you can spend more on champagne! YAY! The cheap seats do come with a cost though - most have restricted views so make sure you pick your seats wisely and get online early to snap up the best deals.
Every christmas they also have the BEST ballets which really get you ready and feeling festive. I cannot recommend this place enough.
The ROH is absolutely beautiful and far better than you'd expect from the fairly drab exterior. You step inside and it's all sleek imposing marble, plush velvet, and dazzling chandeliers. Although they don't require any particular dress code, it's the type of place that makes you feel inadequate if not suited and booted and the atmosphere made me long for my tux.
Tickets are checked efficiently and you are ushered into the main lobby to drop off bags and coats at the free cloakroom (not even a hint of expectation for a tip) before left to wander the building. I'd strongly recommend going up to the Amphitheatre bar which overlooks the main bar and also has a covered outdoor area that lets you take in the view of Covent Garden Piazza. The bar could use a couple more bartenders, but they do get to you within a reasonable time and the glasses of wine are generous to a fault. A small wine glass is 175ml for about a fiver (house red) and is more than enough to sip on either pre-show or during intermission.
A clever service is the ability to order a pre-show dinner when you book your ticket and/or opt for drinks and snacks at intermission. If you know you want a drink or snack, definitely do this as your food/wine will be waiting for you when intermission starts and you can avoid the wait and queues at the bar. Without a doubt I'll opt for this if I ever make it back to another opera.
Our opera of choice was Le Nozze de Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro) which tells the tale of two young lovers who work for the same Count and wish to get married. Unfortunately, the Count has designs upon the maid and may resurrect his right as Lord to have her for himself on the night before her wedding. The two lovers work out a plan with the help of other characters, including the Countess, to force the Count to publically confirm he won't exercise that right and much hilarity ensues.
The ROH conveniently provides subtitles as the entire opera is sung in Italian and you can follow along fairly easily. No joke, it's along one clocking it at just over 3 hours including intermission but the cast manages to draw you in and keep you entertained for the most part.
I can't believe I've lived in London for over two years and only just made it to the ROH. Everything about this theatre is exquisite - the interior architecture, the decor, the ballet, music, dancers. What a fantastic experience!
Being way up in the amphitheater, you might feel like you're a bit distant from the action but au contraire, it's a great place to be. The bar upstairs is extremely efficient, expertly handling a horde of people within a 20-minute interval like a piece of cake. (Speaking of which, the pineapple upside down cake is goooood.) And from high up, there's also an awesome wall window overlooking the Floral Hall, the view of which will take your breath away.
I've passed the ROH so many times while meandering through Covent Garden, but never really understood how amazing it was until my night at the ballet. A night at the opera shall most definitely be my next venture.
Nothing conveys heart wrenching tragedy so beautifully as the ballet, and it truly is a captivating spectacle.
The ROH dancers are such exceptional other worldly creatures, their skills seem to transcend the bounds of human capability. And they are set off perfectly by the spectacular costumes, sets, and music faultlessly rendered by the resident orchestra, all of which conspire to transport you into whichever story is exquisitely unfolding on stage.
The venue itself is no understudy, but an awe inspiring palace. From the grand entrance to the ornate ceiling, and the stunning glass architecture of the Paul Hamlyn Hall, it's almost overwhelming.
The whole: a study in pure pleasure, and an irrefutable ambassador for the value of the arts.
The Royal Opera House is a magical place where magical things happen. And as far as I'm concerned, magic warrants 5 stars.
It's just a beautiful historic meets modern building, and of course the productions are top notch. I have been for both opera and ballet and have been equally astounded by both. I'm finding it hard to expand upon what I've already said because seriously... magic warrants 5 stars.
One quick note to mention. "Partial Obstruction" seats are really actually quite obstructed. I purchased one of these tickets, not directly from the Opera House but on a third party site for Swan Lake thinking "oh, there will probably be a pole in front of my face, so I'll just move my head to the left a bit and be fine." Oh no. I was seated almost directly to the left of the stage and therefore was only able to see about 1/3 of the ballet. But it was a gorgeous 1/3. Lesson learned. Want to spare others of the neck-craning misery.
Imposing design and great combination of old and new architecture. Enter through the modern entrance and up into the Paul Hamlyn hall with huge central champagne bar.
- If you want a bit of pre-opera decadence you can stop here for a glass of champagne and oysters.
- A good spot to check out your fellow opera attendees.
- Recommend pre-ordering interval drinks at this point, so much better than queuing at the crush bar, literally.
You pass from the glass and steel atrium straight into the ornate red and gold main auditorium. Quite a contrast.
I was fortunate to snag a ticket for one of the Wagner Ring Cycle operas currently showing. As well as seeing World Class Opera singers the Royal Opera orchestra is also superb. Excellent sets too. It can add up to quite an experience.
Yes you can pay a lot for tickets in the best seats but there are always a wide range of ticket prices and you can get very reasonable tickets around £20 if you are prepared to sit right up at the top at the back or have a partial view seat. I say that's great value but watch out, popular productions sell out way in advance.
Attending a performance here you can be super smart and 'see and be seen' or be casual, either way it's OK.
I like the policy of putting on both traditional productions and more modern operas that push the boundaries too. And of course, it's the home of the Royal Ballet as well.
Further plus points go to the website booking process for not adding booking fees or postage onto the ticket price which have become so common at so many other places. What a refreshing change for not having these irritating add ons. They deserve special kudos for that.
All adds up to a 5 star experience.
Visiting the royal opera house is one of those life changing events in ones life that is never quite forgotten. The grandeur and opulence just cannot be expressed enough in words. Spectacular architecture and acoustics are just one layer of the many magical facets of this legendary place. The staff was delightful, and during intermission do not miss getting a drink at the bar area! Not to mention the royal ballet was flawless...
When the lights up and the applaud fades, we were no rushing out, because it's not the end yet...
"Ballet is not only about dance, it's the music, stage, lighting, and many other things..." This is the opera house. Dancers say "I am so inspired by this place." And these emotions are infectious as I vividly recall from the Romeo and Juliet, and the Sleeping Beauty.
I was drawn to Rossini's Il Turco In Italia because I like the lightness of being (thinking of Fellini's La dolce vita). Compared with Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Rossini is always amusing. The desire to be entertaining and to be entertained.
It's not just an opera house. The door opens during the day for visitors whether backstage tours, food or exhibitions (the current La traviata one is stunning around Carriage Entranceway, Cloakroom Corridor, Paul Hamlyn Hall). You can also aim for the same day good seat tkts (67 total) if you can get there early in the morning to queue.
One of the most gorgeous interiors of a theatre I've ever had the pleasure of seeing firsthand. This place is quintessential glamorous London for me. I've been to two ballets here: 2 years ago to see Romeo & Juliet, and last week to see The Nutcracker. Both were exceptional and magical. You can't peel your eyes away from the stage.
We also ate dinner at the Balconies Restaurant before the performance, which was fantastic as well. They definitely have got it down to a science.
A wonderful night out for anyone, it doesn't matter who you are.
One of the most gorgeous opera houses I've been to, inside and out.
It was here that I fell in love with opera eight years ago, when I saw my first production, Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffman." I also saw Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" here.
Whether you live in London or are visiting for a few days, the Royal Opera House is definitely worth a visit. If you're short on time, try to at least do the tour. Otherwise, try to see an opera or ballet performance and really immerse yourself in the experience of being in this amazing hall, being entertained by some of the world's best singers and dancers.
Amazing. Just Amazing. There is definitely a reason why the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet are regarded as one of the world's foremost companies in their respective genres.
It is a great experience whether you are sitting sky high with the angels or right behind the conductor (I've been lucky enough to have done both, unfortunately for my pockets I must admit the orchestral stalls were much better!). But no worries; the £20 plebeian tickets still get you a decent view in the lusciously restored and thankfully air conditioned theatre with good acoustics. Obviously it is totally your bad luck if you get squashed between 2 fat smelly people for a 3 hour performance.
Also, this week I saw a woman strip down to her bra in the bright clean (and very numerous, not much queuing!) toilets during the interval. As if I was not already in shock from being squished!
So, urm... no need to put on your best if you don't want to then. Not if they are stripping in the loos.
An interesting fact: The Paul Hamlyn Hall used to be called the Vilau Floral Hall (and Floral Hall for a short while) but Mr. Vilau forgot to pay his £10 million and thus had name stripped off the hall. Oh the tragedy of it all.
Beautiful venue - the grandeur of the main auditorium is simply breathtaking. I'm spectacularly lucky and have managed to wangle my way into the best seats in the stalls and circle, and it really is phenomenal.
And, though I like to bait my friends by harping on about the price of the top seats (really, you can almost buy property for some of those prices - in London!) but honestly you can get cheap(ish) seats if you're happy to go HIGH.
The Floral Hall is gorgeous though (and maybe because I just don't know the venue well enough) I always seem to find getting there and back within the space of the interval something of a struggle.
I last saw the dress rehearsal (another great way to get in without having to sell your kidney) of Swan Lake - there's really nowhere like it to see something so magnificent - and it was the perfect way to prepare myself for seeing Black Swan!
This place does not dissapoint. Full stop. Royal Ballet is breathtaking, and the ROH is a great venue for it.
Opera's not really my thing, but I'm sure I'll be back for one soon, and will update at that point.
The cheap/high seats aren't bad at all, excellent acoustics, reasonable ability to see what's going on, etc etc etc.
So many good memories.....Guillem to Gheorghiu. Fantastico!
I saw Claire Bloom here once in the intermission and to this day I regret not going up to her and buying her a glass of champagne.
I saw L'Heure Espagnole / Gianni Schicchi today, which was my first time in the ROH, as a nervous opera virgin. I was pleased to find out that it was absolutely fantastic - the venue is incredible, 4 tiers of seats, but very few bad views, I should imagine. The acoustics are, unsurprisingly, astounding. The seats were not at all uncomfortable, the staff were very welcoming and polite - the place was packed. Go, if only to see the Paul Hamlyn Hall Bar, which is very impressive.
It's an experience that everyone should have - I'll be going again!
When I was walking with Mufasa, my cute dog, I saw the beautiful building of the Royal Opera House. I stopped for a minute to look at it and its nice architecture. Mufasa was jumping and barking around me, I was enjoying the magnificent building. I want to go there again. The atmosphere inside is unique. Even if you don't go there very often, it is not a big problem. For example, twice a year for me is ok. I'm usually in the opera house with my mother, because she is keen on this kind of art. May be we will go soon to a ballet, called Mayerling.
The Royal Opera House is an amazing building, and it is one of the places to go to on a winter's day to listen to some lovely music. Some of the performances here have taken my breath away. Its always such an experience to dress up and go out to Covent Garden, its magical.
There is a restaurant and bar inside in a huge glass roofed area. This is such a pleasure to visit, and at a matinee weekend performance, the light in here is simply fantastic. I love some of the shows, and there are often last minute deals as well as some special seats reserved for students in the stalls.
The terrace at the top looks out over the Covent Garden piazza, and its worth coming up here just for the view. I hope you have as good a time as I have here!
I went to the ballet Ondine on Friday night and it was such a great experience. The whole place is so luxurious and fancy that it definitely calls for dressing up, otherwise you'll be uncomfortably underdressed all night.
The ground floor and mezzanine levels have a while linen tablecloth kind of restaurant and bar, while the upper levels have bars and a less formal dining area. We got some wine at the first interval and a generous glass of red wine was £4.50 which isn't bad. They also had chilled water jugs and cups dotted around the place which I always think is a nice touch.
The seating inside is gorgeous too, all red velvet and luxurious. It is a pretty expensive night out but so worth it for a treat, I had a fantastic and really memorable time.
What strikes me most about the Royal Opera House is its integration into the rest of the square surrounding Covent Garden. The first two times I tried to find it I missed it entirely. But the manner in which one accesses it on a professional and spectatorial basis is stately in a particularly British way, about as far removed from the ostentation of the Palais Garnier in Paris or La Scala in Milan as one can imagine. No, this opera house is orderly and functional, and beautiful all at once, without announcing itself to the heavens unduly.
I, for one, am all for it. It takes all kinds. And the acoustics inside the considerably more ornamented house are immaculate, served well by a well-designed structure, allowing the music to soar and not merely its social trappings. Visitors to town are well advised to take a tour and poke around as the performances are quite often sold out well in advance.
I came here to see the ballet Sylvia. Being here gave me a certain sense of glamour. If you are taking a lady on a date and she likes dance it is a wonderful place to impress.
The theatre itself is impressive and most seats give a fantastic view of the stage.
It is a great opportunity to dress up in your semi formals and feel posh and extravagant whilst rubbing shoulders with the middle and upper classes.
If you are interested in ballet, no excuses get yourself a ticket.
I went here recently to see Alice in Wonderland and I still get pleasant flashbacks when thinking about it.
The building is beautiful and everything has a really lovely and pleasant old charm about it. It still retains an orchestra pit and the bars serve a variety of drinks including very good kir royale which to me is the perfect drink for an interval.
Absolutely stunning place to see a show. I went to see Manon, which was an amazing ballet, but unfortunately we had to get Restricted View seats because everything else was sold out, and they were still quite expensive tickets. It was a fun experience being in a balcony box, but literally only seeing a third of the stage was a struggle.
I would highly recommend seeing Manon as the dancing is extraordinary, costumes are gorgeous, and setting is beautiful. Really exceptional show and so glad I went, even with partial view. Champagne bar will also set you back at £12/glass but it is a lovely atmosphere.
Magical and Exhilarating!! Any performance here just makes my life so thrilling. Tried to get seats for a lunchtime concert in the Crush Room next weeksold out!
You have to get in early. Nutcracker coming soon.
Pointe work and posh nosh headline at the Opera House but it's the magic of the place that means I can't imagine a London year without a visit or two.
It is here that I have fallen in love again and again with dance, before and after the refurbishment it's just that before, I was a little more squashed whilst doing so. There really is nothing like jostling into that awesome auditorium and settling down to watch the polite tapping of pointe shoes on the stage and hearing the surge of the orchestra that accompanies. The feeling is the same, whether you pay £8 for a standing ticket, or £80.
A world away from hectic London life and yet at once synonymous with the Capital's cultural scene, a night at the Royal Opera House is, to me, pure joy.
There is nothing I can describe with words about the Royal Opera House that will compare to the experience of visiting it yourself. However, I am not objective, as it is one of my favourite places in London, where I have enjoyed many beautiful evenings.
The building is beautiful, and you can enjoy a glass of champagne in the grand bar downstairs, or a snack and a coffee in the bar upstairs or a gorgeous dinner in the restaurant. Or go for dinner outside (I'd recommend Cafe des Amis) and you can just wander around the opera house once you are inside.
You should also take the time to go onto the terrace on the top floor, overviewing Covent Garden, the best place to sit in Summer.
In Summer, it is great to cross Covent Garden after the performance has finished, as there is usually a great atmosphere with Covent Garden pretty empty, except for singers surrounded by small crowds that are singing along. I love joining them whenever I can :)
You don't need to attend a performance in order to see the building, as there are tours most of the year.
There are also free talks for which you can get tickets online and these are usually before a performance, giving insight about that opera/ballet/etc.
However, if you are thinking about attending a performance, here are a few tips:
I have been seated on the orchestra stalls, on the grand tier, balcony, ampitheatre, stalls, pretty much everywhere except for the boxes really. And I can say that you pay for what you get, although I find that some areas are quite overpriced.
You can get a standing ticket (although I wouldn't recommend standing for over 3h!) for as little as £8 or a seating ticket for £9 or £13 depending on the area. These tickets have restricted viewing but it is a good opportunity to experience opera or ballet for the first time and see if it is something that you would enjoy and therefore pay more for a better seat.
It is a great affordable alternative also if you really like it. I, for example, like going to all the operas, and enjoy the music and singing more than the performance itself, so the viewing restriction doesn't bother me that much. But this does depend on the opera as there as some in which the viewing aspect really enhances the overall performance.
Now, all I can say is enjoy! :)
Even if you don't really like opera, the Royal Opera House is worth a look if you are in Covent Garden. The building has been rebuilt/refurbished several times (last major rework was around 8 years ago) and some parts of the building are stunning.
You get brilliant views of Covent Garden and London from the Piazza, and the champagne bar in the Paul Hamlyn Hall is spectacular (drinks not bad either).
And if you do like Opera, then try anything to get tickets for a performance; they are like gold dust but worth every effort!
Aida at The Royal Opera House.
Verdi composed Aida in 1871 for the opening of the Egyptian National Opera House in Cairo.
David McVicar's production returns for its first revival at Covent Garden in impressive style in 2011.
With set designs by Jean-Marc Puissant, you are captivated as soon as the music starts and the curtain lifts.
Aida tells of a forbidden love between enslaved Ethiopian princess Aida (played wonderfully by Liudmyla Monastyrska who was drafted in after Micaela Carosi withdrew from the role due to pregnancy) and Captain of the Egyptian army, Radames (Roberto Alagna).
With the nations at war and with Aida needing the keep her royal connections a secret, the story soon takes a complicated turn.
Other productions of Aida are well known for being over the top, with most of the attention focused on set design and costume.
David McVicar's production however uses minimal set design and lighting.
With all this taking a step into the background, the main performances have the space to really shine through.
This includes the fabulous Olga Borodina who plays the Egyptian princess who is also in love with Radames and is determined to find out Aida's secret.
The highlight of the whole production was the martial arts inspired dance scene to celebrate the Egyptians victory over the Ethiopians performed along side Giuseppe Verdi's stirring score (conducted by Fabio Luisi).
Aida is playing at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden until April 15th 2011.
One of my places in London
I love the refurbished Opera House
This is where the Orange BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) takes place.
And the BAFTAs are always held, on the second Sunday of February (i.e. the Sunday before Valentine's Day). Tip: Always bring a DSLR camera with and a small umbrella, together with a waterproof/showerproof jacket and/or raincoat. Over the last few years, I've always worn a Barbour wax jacket together with a pair of gloves and a small Fox umbrella. And more importantly, I always take more than one camera with me.
The building and location is absolutely stunning. My boyfriend took me to see the nutcracker recently and I loved it (the house rather than th eproduction to be honest:). The prices will make you feel weak, true, but it's not like you go every day is it...make it a special occasion.
They have also a beautiful restaurant inside where you can have a dinner before the start of the show and th epudding in the mid break, even though I don't know what the food is like, I only stuck with the champagne all night:)
I went to the Royal Opera House in the Wayne McGregor's Open House and I really loved the building. There were several spaces with different activities and it was very funny and also free!
The roof terrace is amazing and you can enjoy some views really nice of Covent Garden and the area surrounding the ROH.
In the Royal Opera House are taking place representations of some of the most famous operas of all times so it always worth a visit to their website to see what is going on.
The cafes and restaurants are a bit expensive like in this kinds of places, but as I have said the cafe on the top floor is really nice.
In architectural terms this is one of London's must sees: not only for the building itself (I'm not sure I can think of a better use of light and space) but for the view the restaurants and bars afford across Covent Garden, and onto central London.
While it is easy to criticise the Royal Opera House for all manner of ills (not least the huge cost of tickets for its headline events) it is slowly attempting to broaden its appeal.
The regular open days and exhibitions are a good way of seeing the building itself (which for me is the real attraction) if the ballet or opera are too expensive or not really your thing.
Just a beautiful place!! there is nothing i can say that has not been said.
I've been here twice, once for the Sleeping Beauty (opera) and another time for the Seven Deady Sins (ballet). Both times I found the Royal Opera House impressive, and to think it's along your Covent Garden window shopping route.
The horseshoe-shaped auditorium is something to take a long look at as it has been retained in this shape despite the modernisation in 1996.
You can get tickets from 8 to 100 pounds, depending on the type of seating and the show. As usual, there's student concessions, but make sure you bring your student ID as one of my friends had forgotten and had to borrow from a passerby.
The Royal Opera House certainly installs a feeling of nostalgia within you when you visit, even when it's your first time.
Having seen several performances here, the Royal Opera House offers a lot more in the way of a variety of performances than it's namesake implies, and you can catch everything from plays here to a Philharmonic Orcestra, depending on what your taste is.
As for taste itself, the decor is very impressive, and adequate, I only say this because I've seen better out there, only not that many.
The acoustics are moderate, generally passable, but sometimes you do feel as though the sound is a little dissonant, though I've only encountered this briefly from a handful of performances.
Overall, it's a nice venue, and a nice place to catch a show, just beware that the ticket prices are hiked up purely because it's in London.
I saw La Traviata last week. I was an opera virgin. To be honest I'm still not quite convinced about opera. Maybe it will grow on me. I never used to like red wine!!
Now I'm a borderline alcoholic. Just kidding (kind of)
The singing was quite impressive though. They really belt the songs out. My problem, I think, is that I was trying to think too much about the story, rather than 'feeling' the music.
My girlfriend says it's because I'm emotionally dettached.
As for the building. It's incredibly beautiful inside and I loved the experience.
I'll definnitely go again. I need my cultural side enhanced!!!
Beautiful building, beautiful bars, stunning auditorium, iconic curtains. I have only been here for dance profirmances, and have had the best seats in the house and the worst. The worst are really not worth it unless you are desparate to witness a performance. The sight lines can be dreadful, and 'restricted view' can be a pillar in front of you, or mean you need to rest your head in your neighbour's lap to see the stage. Basically, seat wise, you get what you pay for. But check their website for deals and offers.
AMAZING! wow, guess what guys? I like opera! I think this makes me officially a grown up. Right?
Last night I went to see the marriage of Figaro, and I knew that it would be wonderful, but I wasn't prepared for the opulence that is the Royal Opera house.
The set was so detailed and the creativity that went into the set design really made the scene's come to life! when I was watching the opera I almost forgot that it was currently 2010, I seriously thought I time travelled when I exited the theatre.
The fact that they have subtitles makes a WORLD of a difference, and REALLY lets you get involved, otherwise i would have been sitting there saying "I took italian in college, i think i know that word.. did he just say something about nipple train?"
The tickets are really pricey, but you can get the cheap seats, and you might be sitting uncomfortably for the entire show, but it will still be totally enjoyable. I have also been told that it is possible to buy returned tickets the day of.
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