The Royal Opera House, Covent GardeN

the inside view

Tuesday 16 March 2021

On Zoom at 10:30

ROH curtains

ROH horseshoe

Programme for the day

10:15  Arrival & greeting

10:30 Lecture 1

The history and design of the Royal Opera House and its artistic heritage

We commence with a look at the founding of the first Covent Garden Theatre in 1732 and follow the sometimes troubled history that has led to the wonderful Victorian building and world-class arts venue that exists today.  We will examine the detail of the auditorium and explore some of the music that has been performed within its walls along with the way composers, performers and managers have influenced the fortunes of the building for more than 280 years.

11:30 Interval 10-15 minutes

11:45  Lecture Two

The foundation and development of the resident companies: The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and the Orchestra

The Royal Opera House demands world-class performers and performances to keep its audiences engaged, both inside and outside the theatre.  We continue on with looks at the creation and history of the resident companies, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, and the Orchestra of the ROH and see how onstage performers and a large invisible backstage team all work together to meet the high-level demands of modern productions.  We will examine some artistic heights, the way performers approach their work and learn that sometimes things do not always go to plan! 

12:45 – 13:00

Questions and finish

Lecturer: Nigel Bates

Nigel was the Music Administrator of The Royal Ballet from 2012 to 2020 and has been a performer for more than forty years in and out of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

In the course of over 6000 performances, broadcasts and recordings he has worked with many of the leading figures in the classical music industry.  He commenced his musical career in the Regimental Band of the Scots Guards before joining the Orchestra of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet and working as a freelance player with most of the London orchestras and ensembles. He was Section Principal Percussion of the ROH Orchestra from 1993-2009.

Nigel has been a regular contributor to the printed and online content of the Royal Opera House and was also a producer for the BBC’s documentary series Maestro at the Opera and Pappano’s Classical Voices.  He has given lectures and presentations for many years both in the UK and abroad, including nearly every arts society in our sister Australian network.


Book this Study Day

This Study Day is open to all at a charge of £ 15 for Members of The Arts Society Sherborne and £ 18 for non-Members (which includes members of other Arts Societies). Registration in advance is required.


For further information and to receive a booking form please complete and submit the form below.

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