Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is one of the oldest and most prestigious of London's theatres. It is the third theatre on this site outside Covent Garden Market.

The first theatre here was the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, built in 1732 by John Rich with proceeds from his Beggar’s Opera. The Theatre Royal saw some of the first performances of works by Handel, who was a close collaborator with Rich.

The Theatre Royal was one of only two theatres in London allowed to perform drama, a monopoly that continued until the Theatres Act of 1843.

The Theatre Royal was destroyed by fire in 1808, and a new theatre built and opened in the following year. That theatre, in turn, burned down in 1856 and was replaced with the present building, to a design by E.M. Barry.

In 1892 the Theatre Royal was renamed the Royal Opera House, an indication of the type of entertainment then most popular. The Opera House fell into disuse following WWII but reopened in 1946. In the ensuing years, it became the permanent home of both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet companies. It has since been remodelled one last time and reopened to the public in 2000.