The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden

> The main auditorium (1) of the Covent Garden opera house is the only remaining part of the original 1858 building.The rest of the complex is the result of a huge redevelopment in 1999 when lottery funding became available.

> The portico frieze (2) with a  tragedy and comedy theme, is made of unusual Coade stone, an artificial material thought to have been weatherproofed by the addition of ground glass in the manufacture, although the actual recipe has been lost over time.

> The glass Floral Hall (3), once one of the Covent Garden market buildings, is now restored, the roof raised, and is used among other things, as a reception area for the opera house and for pre-performance food and drinks.

> Most of the world's greatest opera and ballet stars have performed at Covent Garden. Occasionally popular operas are relayed to outdoor screens at locations around the country, one of which is set up close by in Covent Garden piazza, just behind the opera house.

> The revolving doors (4) lead to the Opera House box office, the information desk and to the book and gift shop selling all things opera-related.

> The goods entrance (5) has a lift, concealed behind the grey doors to the left, which is large enough to carry the trailers of articulated lorries arriving from Europe, loaded with props and scenery.

> The long escalator (6) behind the glass goes up to the roof terrace, the Amphitheatre restaurant and bar.

> Look down Floral Street (7) to see the twisted bridge called the Bridge of Aspirations which connects the Opera House to the Royal Ballet School across the road.

> The Royal Opera House website can  be found here.

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