Covent Garden or the Royal Opera House is a major performing arts venue in London, United Kingdom, and the home of the Royal Opera, one of London's two principal opera companies, the Royal Ballet, the largest of Great Britain's four ballet companies, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
It was originally called the Theatre Royal, and later the Royal Italian Opera. The building was destroyed by fire, twice, and rebuilt. The second rebuilding resulted in the nucleus of the theatre in use today, and this opened on 15 May 1858 with a performance of Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer.
During World War I the building was used as a furniture repository, and in World War II it became a dance hall. It reopened with a Robert Mayer Children's Concert on 9 February 1946.
Renovation and reconstruction of the building has continued from the 1960s until the present day, with a major rebuilding of most of the site, except the auditorium, between 1997 and 1999.
A selection of articles about Covent Garden
CD Spotlight. Full of Surprises - Michael Hofstetter's recording of Weber's 'Oberon', recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Recommended ... if only for the magical sound world created by Hofstetter.'
Ensemble. A Triumph - Alice McVeigh was at Covent Garden for the last performance of Gounod's 'Faust'
Ensemble. Musically Outstanding - Wagner's 'Das Rheingold' in dress rehearsal at Covent Garden impresses Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. An Opera of Two Halves - Donizetti's 'L'ange de Nisida' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Intrigue, Amusement and Confusion - Keith Bramich is impressed by Covent Garden's new production of Wagner's 'Lohengrin'
Ensemble. Vaguely Supernatural - George Benjamin's 'Lessons in Love and Violence' at Covent Garden, heard by Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Forcefully Engaging - A school production of 'Carmen', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ask Alice - Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh visits Covent Garden for Francesco Cilea's 'Adriana Lecouvreur'
Ensemble. Harmonious in Every Sense - Alice McVeigh explains why 'Der Rosenkavalier' at Covent Garden couldn't have been bettered in any department
Ask Alice - Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh on Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' at Covent Garden
Ensemble. Wonderfully Frivolous - Chabrier's 'L'Etoile' at Covent Garden, recommended by Alice McVeigh
Musical Prowess - Robert Anderson's 'Opera Nights and Nightmares', read by Gerald Fenech
Ask Alice - 'William Tell' at Covent Garden, with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. A Scintillating Evening - Szymanowski's 'King Roger' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. Supercharged Emotions - Agostino Steffani's 'Niobe, Regina di Tebe', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... intense renditions full of dramatic power and feeling.'
Ask Alice - Restricted view recommended for Verdi's 'Un ballo in maschera' at Covent Garden, by classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ask Alice - On 'Dialogues des Carmelites' at Covent Garden, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Traditional and Bold - Berlioz's Les Troyens, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Exploration and Discovery - 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Alice McVeigh
DVD Spotlight. Collapsing Troy - Berlioz from Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... much orchestral wizardry under Antonio Pappano ...'
Ensemble. Something more Exotic - Camels on the Silk Road, experienced by Roderic Dunnett
Ask Alice - An encounter with Birtwistle's Minotaur at Covent Garden, for Classical Music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
DVD Spotlight. Truly Hypnotic - Verdi's 'Macbeth' from Covent Garden, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... almost unbearable intensity and shimmering sonority.'
Ask Alice - A visit to Covent Garden for 'Die Meistersinger', with Classical Music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Superb Realms - Puccini's 'Il Trittico', reviewed by Robert Hugill
A Stunning Voice - A recital by Vuyani Mlinde impresses Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Vocal Passion - Maria Nockin makes a virtual visit to Covent Garden for Verdi's 'Macbeth'
Ensemble. Dramatically Potent - Robert Hugill was at Chelsea Opera Group's performance of Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut'
Ensemble. Highly Atmospheric - Massenet's 'Werther', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Christ Re-Crucified - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the Italian première of Bohuslav Martinu's Greek Passion
Ensemble. Historical Fantasy - Rimsky-Korsakov's 'The Tsar's Bride', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Inestimable Worth - Joan Sutherland's debut recital, assessed by Howard Smith. 'No other single disc has these historic performances.'
Profile. A Nurturing Environment - Maria Nockin talks to American mezzo Kate Lindsey
Ensemble. A Real Triumph - The first Milan performance of Britten's 'Death in Venice' impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Malcolm Smith (1932-2011) - A celebration, not an obituary, by Bill Newman
Ensemble. A Riotous Production - Mark Anthony Turnage's 'Anna Nicole', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Protect and Survive - Mike Wheeler was at the Annual Conference of the Association of British Orchestras
Ensemble. A Wonderful Rendition - Puccini's 'La Fanciulla del West' at the movies impresses Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Stunning Artistry - New York Metropolitan Opera's Verdi's 'Don Carlo' transmission, seen and heard by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Beautifully Wrought - Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' at Covent Garden, by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Profoundly Satisfying - Cherubini's 'Medée', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Finely Shaped - Gounod's 'Roméo et Juliette', heard by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Vocal Colour - Simon Keenlyside sings Schubert, Wolf, Fauré and Ravel, heard by Robert Anderson. '... a wondrous variety ...'
Ensemble. Unmitigated Fun - Covent Garden at the cinema, experienced by Maria Nockin
DVD Spotlight. A Fascinating Hotchpotch - The story of 'La Traviata', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... fun for the experienced observer ...'
Much Augmented - A new score of Elgar's 'Arthur', perused by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Rather Quirky - Massenet's 'Manon' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Young Purity - A Covent Garden 'Salome' revival, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Noteworthy Impressions - Greg Moomjy writes about the art of the outstanding production
Ensemble. Contemporary Resonance - Grange Park Opera's 'Capriccio', enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Colourful and Large Scale - Francesca Zamballo's production of 'Carmen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Thoroughly Impressed - Maria Nockin talks to baritone Alan Opie, who is about to sing Germont for San Diego Opera
Ensemble. Consummate Skill - 'Hamlet' by Ambroise Thomas, heard by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Wholly Serious - Handel's 'Tamerlano' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Fine Drama - Chelsea Opera Group's 'La Traviata', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Black Comedy - Prokofiev's 'The Gambler' impresses Robert Hugill
DVD Spotlight. A Rarity - Jonathan Dove's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio', reviewed by Howard Smith. '... considerable merits on display ...'
DVD Spotlight. Attractive and Skilful - Royal Opera's 'Hansel and Gretel', recommended by Patric Standford. '... a first class cast ...'
Ensemble. Style and Drama - Gluck's 'Alceste', heard by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Too Good to Miss - Robert Hugill was at the first night of Tchaikovsky's 'The Tsarina's Slippers' at Covent Garden
CD Spotlight. A Superb Work - Thomas Arne's 'Artaxerxes', heard by Robert Anderson. 'Roy Goodman and his team give their all ...'
Ensemble. A Classy Show - Pimlico Opera's 'Rigoletto', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Deeply Felt - Verdi's 'Don Carlo' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sterling Performances - Donizetti's 'Linda di Chamounix', heard by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Imaginative and Challenging - Music by Philip Wilby, heard by Patric Standford. 'Nothing stands still for long ...'
Highly Articulate - American dramatic soprano Christine Brewer talks to Robert Hugill
A Real Find - Robert Davies made a remarkable impact when he stood in as Papageno late in the run of English Touring Opera's 'The Magic Flute'; Roderic Dunnett profiles him and celebrates the progress of other ETO cast members
Ensemble. A Magisterial Presence - William Christie conducts Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Making a Real Fuss - Robert Hugill looks forward to English Touring Opera's HandelFest this autumn
Ensemble. Another Treat - Martinu's 'Mirandolina' at Garsington Opera, by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Ringing Intensity - 'Madama Butterfly' from San Diego Opera, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A Dream-Travelogue of Intoxification - David Wilkins attends a concert at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire
Ensemble. Unique Sonorities - Britten's Peter Grimes, heard by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. A Glistening Treasury - Songs with orchestra from Deborah Riedel, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... a bounteous seam of unfamiliar, wholly blissful vocal gems ...'
DVD Spotlight. Perfectly Cast - The Sleeping Beauty, recommended by Howard Smith. '... utterly enchanting ...'
Ensemble. A Superb Cast - Rossini's 'Mathilde de Shabran' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Old and New Worlds - Ioana Osoianu talks to Keith Bramich about her life in the East and West
Ensemble. A Delicate Balance - Cavalli's 'La Calisto', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Glorious Melody - British Youth Opera's 'La Rondine', reviewed by Robert Hugill
DVD Spotlight. Enchanting - Hérold's 'La fille mal gardée', enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... Covent Garden at its best.'
DVD Spotlight. Fortunes in Love - Mozart's 'Mitridate', enjoyed by Robert Anderson. '... marvellous singing throughout ...'
Ensemble. Highly Intelligent - Verdi's 'Don Carlo', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Substantially Admirable - Vocal music by Puccini, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... more than sufficient ... to recommend unstintingly ...'
Ensemble. Fresh and Intense - Gluck's 'Iphigénie en Tauride', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Companion Pieces - A Ravel / Puccini double bill, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Exploiting the Unexpected - Handel's 'Orlando' from Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Lithe and Musical - Donizetti's 'La Fille du Regiment', enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Record Box. Clear Vividness - The 1751 version of Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Squeals of Delight - LA Opera's 'Hansel and Gretel', enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. A Sizzling Account - 'The Tempest' by Thomas Adès, reviewed by Maria Nockin
DVD Spotlight. Moving and Powerful - Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess', appreciated by Robert Anderson. 'The work is in the safest possible hands ...'
The Designer Touch - Tonina Doráti and opera production, as explained to Bill Newman
Ensemble. Expansively Romantic - Teatro Lirico d'Europa's 'La Traviata', reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Worth waiting for - Phyllida Lloyd's production of Verdi's 'Macbeth', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Vivid form - 'Il Barbiere di Siviglia' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Moments of magic - 'A Midsummer Marriage' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Frenetic pace - Nielsen's 'Maskarade', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. The extra layer? - Robert Hugill was at Covent Garden's 'Il Turco in Italia'
Ensemble. Vital performance - 'Die Walküre', appreciated by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Confined to the house - 'Don Pasquale' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Writing new opera - A composer's perspective, by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A dazzling mix - Bohuslav Martinu's 'The Greek Passion' at London's Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Particular virtues - Richard Strauss's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Musically stunning - Richard Strauss's 'Arabella' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Visions of the sublime - Roderic Dunnett on Covent Garden's 'Magic Flute'
Ensemble. Comic touches - Roderic Dunnett visits the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for 'La Cenerentola'
Ensemble. A night to remember - Roderic Dunnett is impressed by Strauss's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' at Covent Garden
Ensemble. Miracle for Bohemia! - 'La clemenza di Tito' at Covent Garden, with Robert Anderson
Ensemble. A much loved conductor - Bernard Haitink's Farewell Concert at London's Royal Opera, as experienced by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Full circle - Roderic Dunnett enjoys Verdi's 'Macbeth' at Covent Garden
Ensemble - Cosseted by Robespierre. Roderic Dunnett visits London's Royal Opera House for a special performance of 'Tosca'
(Features listed in grey are in our archive, and available to subscribers only.)