The Royal Opera House is an opera house in Covent Garden, central London. Today it is the venue for major performing arts. Originally it was known as the Theatre Royal. It was primarily a playhouse, the first playhouse in history. The first ballet, Pygmalion was presented in the year 1734. This building is often referred to as simply “covent Garden”.
The original theatre was built in 1732. It was destroyed by fire twice, once in 1808 and then again in 1856. The current Royal Opera House is the third theatre built since 1732. The new theatre was designed by Edward Middleton Barry. The construction work began in 1857 and was completed less than a year later.
The first performance at the new “Italian Opera House” on May 15, 1858 was a production of Meyerbee’s Les Huguenots. By 1892, the theatre was officially known as The Royal Opera House of London. This building is a witness to historic events of huge magnitude. During the first World War the building was reduced to a storehouse for furniture. During the Second World War it served as a dance hall. The music publisher Boosey and Hawkes took initiative and restored the former status of the venue.
In the 1990s, the Royal Opera House was reconstructed. The chief architects were Jeremy Dixon and Ed Jones. The acoustic engineers were Rob Harris and Jeremy Newton of Arup Acoustics. At present the Royal Opera House has a capacity of 2,268 people and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and an amphitheatre gallery.