Breaking: Covent Garden to reopen on May 17

Breaking: Covent Garden to reopen on May 17


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2021

Just in from the ROH:

The Royal Opera House is excited to announce that it will once again open its doors to audiences on 17 May 2021, with a packed schedule of in-person performances from both The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, brand new work available to stream online, and the world’s first opera in hyper-reality.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said:

“It is incredibly exciting that we will soon be opening our doors and welcoming audiences back to our beautiful Covent Garden home. We can’t wait to bring life back to our stages and the joy of live performance back to our audiences, and I am delighted that we can go back to doing what we do best: performing the world’s best ballet and opera to audiences at home and around the globe.”

The ROH also announces the re-opening of the world’s first opera in hyper reality: Current, Rising, a unique collaboration between the Royal Opera House’s innovation programme, Audience Labs, award-winning Figment Productions and Royal Holloway, University of London. Developed by a female-led creative team, the 15-minute hyper-reality opera experience combines virtual reality with a multisensory set, inviting audiences to step into a bespoke ‘Opera Tardis’ and experience a dream-like journey carried musically by a poem layered in song.

Before booking opens for these exciting works on 13 April, The Royal Opera is delighted to reveal that on Friday 9 April it will be live streaming its first fully staged production since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with a brand-new double bill of Bertolt Brecht’s and Kurt Weill’s, The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel. Directed by British director Isabelle Kettle, soloists of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme will perform Weill’s satirical double bill under the baton of British-Cypriot conductor Michael Papadopoulos and with choreography from Julia Cheng. This production will be available to online audiences only.



  • Hugh Kerr says:

    An underwhelming launch and I will wait to see the 21/22 programme before I renew my Friends subscription!

    • AHM says:

      Disappointing attitude for a Friend. The Opera House needs the support of Friends now more than ever. It is not just about what you “get” from your subscription.

    • kaywarbrick says:

      Straight out of the blocks, still under restrictions, really innovative productions ready to go in the first weeks. I congratulate them.

    • LondonRobert says:

      Hugh – I entirely agree with you: there is nothing in the launch programme I would want to see / watch. My Friends subscription was renewed in March 2020 and is in effect a £105 donation for ‘nothing’ as there were no performances during my subscription year.

      I’ve always regarded the Friends Subscription as a booking fee, nothing else, and only necessary for the 2 – 3 hot tickets during a season. For all the other operas, I could wait until public booking opens and still get the seat locations and prices I want.

      I regularly get begging letters from the ROH seeking more financial support than I give through ticket buying – which includes for the less popular / lots of empty seat productions. Once they told me that I was one of the people who overall bought most tickets that year.

      But I will not be giving any additional money for a number of reasons. The ROH has always paid its senior staff way, way above what other national arts organisations do, a fact that Norman Lebrecht and Rupert Christiansen have documented over the years. Well, they won’t get any help from me to continue to do this.

      Secondly, I may be a ‘Friend’ but I have absolutely no say in what the Friends do or financially support with the subscriptions – there is not even an annual report to Friends. And, as I’m not a hedge fund manager, there is no way I would ever be invited to join the Friends Board.

      Loyalty, commitment and financial support is a two-way street.

  • kaywarbrick says:

    How fabulous – good on them!

  • Ronald Masters says:

    May 17th cannot come quick enough, thank you Alex, for the update, I wish all staff and performers of the ROH, welcome back home, it will be well worth the wait, and I hope on behalf of all the many supporters of the ROH who sadly lost their lives during this awful Pandemic it will be in their memories,