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Covent Garden(kŭv`ənt), area in London historically containing the city's principal fruit and garden market and the Royal Opera House. The market was established in 1671 by Charles II on the site of the abbot of Westminster's convent garden, from which the area's name is derived. In 1974 the entire market was transferred to a new site at Nine Elms on the South Bank of the Thames near Vauxhall. Since then, Covent Garden has renovated old market buildings and become a popular shopping area, with many individual stores and stalls that sell high-quality goods. The Royal Opera House was erected on the site of the Theatre Royal built in 1732. After being repaired and enlarged in 1787, the theater burned down in 1808 and again in 1856. It was rebuilt in 1858 to house opera and ballet. The Royal BalletRoyal Ballet,
the principal British ballet company, based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. It is noted for lavish dramatic productions, a superbly disciplined corps de ballet, and brilliant performances from its principals.
..... Click the link for more information. began performing there in the spring of 1946. The Royal Opera House reopened in Dec., 1999, after an 18-month renovation.
(full name since the 1890’s, the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden), an opera house in London, founded in 1732. It was named after the region in which it is situated.
Initially, several independent troupes were affiliated with Covent Garden. In addition to the presentation of dramatic performances, musical concerts, and ballets, circuses were exhibited there. However, since 1847 only operas and ballets have been staged. The presently existing theater was opened in 1858 and has a seating capacity of 2,200.
Since the late 18th century, Covent Garden has been reputed to be one of the finest theaters in Europe. The first stagings of G. F. Handel’s operas took place in Covent Garden, between 1734 and 1737. In subsequent years famous European composers wrote works for the theater. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, British operas and ballets occupied a notable place in the theater’s program. The works of several Russian composers, including P. I. Tchaikovsky, M. P. Mussorgsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, and A. P. Borodin, were also staged. In the late 19th century the tradition of performing operas in the original language was established at Covent Garden; the tradition has been preserved to this day.
The world’s most eminent conductors and singers have performed at Covent Garden. In the 1930’s it became a state theater. During World War II (1939–45), Covent Garden was closed; it was reopened in 1946. The theater’s extensive repertoire includes the works of various national schools and ranges from the classical to the contemporary period. Works by the Soviet composers S. S. Prokofiev and D. D. Shostakovich have been performed. The theater’s soloists include the world-famous singers J. Sutherland, M. Collier, G. Jones, J. Carlyle, E. Robson, and H. Harper. Many foreign artists have appeared at Covent Garden on tour, including Soviet singers and conductors. A touring troupe from Covent Garden appeared in the USSR in 1964.
REFERENCESShawe-Taylor, D. Covent Garden. London, 1948.
Rosenthal, H. Two Centuries of Opera at Covent Garden. London, 1958.