Will The Royal Opera House's New Look Tempt You Inside?

M@
By M@
Will The Royal Opera House's New Look Tempt You Inside?
Magic fluting.

Never been inside the Royal Opera House? Its newly completed refit is designed to lure in the soprano-dodging masses with attractive public spaces, cafes and the like, open throughout the day.

The opera building in Covent Garden has always had such facilities, but they've never struck us as particularly welcoming, or even obvious, unless you're already plugged into the venue's activities.

Royal Opera House cafe
Come for one gin, stay for Onegin?

This major rework (check out the £50.7 million price tag) is designed to overturn that image. They'd like us to treat the place like the Royal Festival Hall or Barbican Centre — somewhere you can just hang out and do your own thing during the day, without a ticket in your pocket.

White curves of Royal Opera House.
Carmen have a look... you'll be Offenbach in the place.

The 'Open Up' project, masterminded by architects Stanton Williams, centres on the 1990s extension building. The venue gets more obvious, welcoming entrances, a new cafe, restaurant and shops, plus a terrace overlooking Bow Street. The Linbury Theatre has also been remodelled in cosy hues of brown and purple.

Linbury theatre, Royal Opera House, London
Cosy fans (won't) tutt, eh? (Sorry, we're getting desperate.)

Press reaction has been generally positive. The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright describes the mingling areas as 'more useful and inviting' if a little generic, while the Linbury is now 'wonderfully intimate'. The Standard focusses instead on new 'ballet sessions for babies'.

Whether the new look will tempt more of us into the actual productions remains to be seen, but this certainly is a tempting overture.

Images by Hufton+Crow. Puns by an author who knows sod-all about opera attempting to look marginally intellectual; failing.

Last Updated 20 September 2018