Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Prettiest View From Above: The Royal Opera House


Confession: the Royal Opera House used to be my shortcut to the gym in Covent Garden. It was the shortest route between my office and my 6 pm yoga class ... and I loved seeing the anxious faces of opera- and ballet-goers lining up for returned tickets and the buzz before an evening's performance. It felt sacrilegious, sure, but I figured I wasn't doing any harm by walking through the revolving doors, straight through the lobby into another set of revolving doors.

Last time I was at the ROH, my friend Jodi had somehow magically wangled 4th row (FOURTH ROW - as in, you can see the dancers' expressions) tickets to Sleeping Beauty for my birthday. And the time before that, I enjoyed Verdi from a private box, as my friends had a spare ticket - which had been given to them as a wedding present.

This time, we were there to see the ballet La Fille Mal Gardée, which John had chosen, as Alison had given vouchers to him for his birthday earlier in the year. But before we took our seats, we had just enough time to sip a glass of champagne and enjoy the spectacular view from the observation deck above. Isn't it beautiful? Those windows - especially when sunlight's streaming in - are just stunning.

And the view outside is just as incredible:


I love how you can just about make out the upper half of the London Eye across the rooftops, and see the Union Jack flags flying proud and high (p.s. the restaurant you see there is Brasserie Blanc, which is a great little place to meet friends from out-of-town for dinner!).

By the time we left the performance (which was fantastic, by the way - a fun, light-hearted, and entertaining ballet with wonderful costume and set design, plus pretty, classical choreography), the streets had emptied and there was a slight chill in the air. But for that quick moment we had stepped outside to admire the scene below, I remembered what makes this city so unique and beautiful.

Have you been to the Royal Opera House for a performance, or for dinner or afternoon tea? What did you think? It's one of my favorite places in London. I'd love to go back for afternoon tea when my friends arrive next week.
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16 comments

  1. In my other life, I worked at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge (the junior school) and had plenty of opportunity to visit the ROH ... by the stage door. The children appear in the Christmas production of Nutcracker and I spent a very happy Christmas season watching them from the wings. The school also used to be offered a block of seats on a regular basis and I got to see lots of ballet that way, too many to remember them all! One performance was even held for us because the coach coming in from Richmond had been delayed in Friday evening traffic.I also snagged a staff seat for Swan Lake and was about 10 rows from the front, which was pretty amazing. I took my son to Nutcracker in December 2013 and he thought it was great (http://suburbansahm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-nutcracker.html). The building's interior is pretty special, but even more so is the view of Covent Garden from the terrace of the company's canteen!

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    1. That's incredible, Ruth! And thanks so much for sharing your post with me. I studied classical ballet for 14 years, so I have fond memories of performing in The Nutcracker! ROH is such a beautiful place - you were very lucky to work at the Royal Ballet School!

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  2. I've been to a few opera performances at the Royal Opera House, and I love how well organised it is when you have your meal at the interval! The venue itself is stunning

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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    1. Fabulous, Suze! It's all pretty amazing.

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  3. Now that shortcut is an epic London life hack!

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    1. Ha, I know! I felt guilty but then, wouldn't stop ...

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  4. I've only been once so far, to see The Magic Flute. I'd had a long day beforehand and unfortunately fell asleep during the first act :/ The rest of the performance was great, though! hahaha. It's also a beautiful venue. Those views are incredible.

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    1. Haha, I don't blame you, Gianni, Mozart is a SNOOZE fest. I think I fell asleep during either Mozart or Haydn piano concerto once - it was torturous (and I'm a pianist!). The views are pretty fantastic.

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  5. I used to work on front of house at the ROH and loved every day of it! Just standing in the Paul Hamlyn Hall or looking out at the view from the staff restaurant was amazing - not to mention swooning with admiration at the dancers and singers passing through the back of house all the time :) You're so lucky to get fourth-row seats - I'd love to go back for a show sometime! xx

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    1. NO WAY, Tamsin! That must have been a pretty amazing job! Sigh. xx

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  6. I didn't realise you could have afternoon tea there! Looks like such a beautiful place, your photos are stunning Jaime! Hope you had a great evening - certainly sounds like you did :)

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

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    1. Yes, you can, Lauren! Though it is a bit on the pricey side, IMO, though the view in itself would be worth it! Thanks so much for reading, lovely! xo

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  7. Oh beautiful photographs!

    I'm really glad you enjoyed the performance!! I used to work in the wardrobe department for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and La Fille Mal Gardee was frequently in our repertoire, very much a fun light hearted ballet.

    Oh I bet Sleeping Beauty performed at the ROH must have been just magical!! : D

    Gemma
    Faded Windmills

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    1. Thank you so much, Gemma! I remember you telling me that you used to work in the wardrobe department for the Birmingham Royal Ballet - that's SO amazing. Do you have any blog posts about your time there?? I'd love to know. I think I've seen them perform before at Sadler's Wells (Antony & Cleopatra, maybe?) and was awestruck.

      Isn't La Fille Mal Gardee fun? Lots of entertaining, humorous aspects that the whole audience can enjoy ... and you don't have to be as emotionally invested as, say, Swan Lake or La Sylphide! Sleeping Beauty at ROH was ... incredible. I CRIED. I'm a baby like that. xo

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  8. Beautiful photography yet again Jamie,and a great post.I've never been but would love to go someday xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Kara! Yes, I hope you get a chance to visit it soon! xx

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