Tour of the Royal Opera House

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Wandering through the foyer of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden my wife and I saw a board advertising a tour of the building. Having never attended any performance here we were curious as to what it was actually like. So that was how we came to find ourselves actually watching two of the principals of The Royal Ballet rehearsing for a major performance. The tour lasted for about an hour and a quaarter and there were about fifteen people in our group. We began by taking the lift up to the highest seating point where we had a wonderful view of the whole Opera House in all its magnificence. We had never imagined it was so huge or so opulent. Our guide was full of knowledge and obviously passionate both about the building itself and the ballets and operas staged there. He pointed out that the cheapest seats right at the top of the building are actually the best as the acoustics are excellent there. We were told about the history of the building and about the major improvements which have taken place in recent years. From there we were taken behind the scenes into the costume department where we saw all manner of costumes being prepared for forthcoming performances. We were guided down corridors, through the dancers' rest area until we came to the ballet rehearsal rooms where we came to see the principal dancers in rehearsal, watching them through a glass window. This was an amazing experience for us as we could see the choreographer, the director and the pianist as well as the dancers in such ciose proximity. After this we went down to where we had a wonderful backstage view and could see how technology is used to move the scenery on the stage. The whole tour was an amazing eye opener of behind the scenes at Covent Garden and we would both recommend anyone interested in ballet. opera or historical buildings to take this tour.

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