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The Royal Opera House started out in 1732 as the Covent Garden Theatre, but a disastrous fire gutted it in 1808. A second theatre opened just one year later – but that burnt down in 1856.
The third and final theatre was renamed The Royal Opera House in 1892. Most of what we see today was refitted in 1996 at a cost of £210 million.
The building’s long history has led to it getting a number of great British debuts. For example, Mozart’s Don Giovanni was first performed here in 1817, as was The Marriage of Figaro. Other great operas to get a London airing include The Barber of Seville, and Puccini’s Tosca.
The vast majority of the productions are put on by the Royal Opera Company – England’s leading operatic company – but were joined in 1946 by the Royal Ballet.
The two companies now share an orchestra and chorus of forty-five singers.
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