The Royal Opera House is home to both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, performing with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
The current Royal Opera House, with its grand classical portico fronting Bow Street, is actually the third theatre built on the Covent Garden site; the previous 2 buildings were both destroyed by fire. The first important musical works to be heard at the theatre were by Handel, who, from 1735 until his death in 1759, had close links with Covent Garden both as composer and organist.
Work on the third and present theatre started in 1857 with designs by E.M. Barry, and the new building opened in May 1858 with a performance of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots. Barry also designed the striking glass and iron Floral Hall, intended as a flower market but also hosting the occasional ball.
Alongside the main performance space, there are other large spaces that are part of the Royal Opera House. There is the Paul Hamlyn Hall, which acts as the main atrium for the venue, as well as being used for private functions and exhibitions.
Opened in 1999 and reopened in September 2018 following an extensive three-year construction project, the Royal Opera House also possesses a smaller studio theatre, the Linbury Theatre, that is used as a second performance space. It is also used for the educational events that the venue runs.
In 1892, with the repertoire broadening, the overall building was renamed the Royal Opera House.