The Royal Opera House is one of the world’s leading performing arts venues, so there is naturally much interest in the production of the performances. The new Pocket Photo Book from Thames & Hudson has 120 photographs by the landscape photographer Harry Cory Wright “that capture the charm and the splendour of this London landmark”.
The photographs capture architect Edward Middleton Barry’s red-and-gold auditorium, the Royal Ballet’s rehearsal spaces, and the workshops where props, wigs, costumes, sets and even weaponry are created onsite.
There have been three theatres on the site. The original theatre opened in December 1732 and served initially as a playhouse. The first ballet was performed there in 1734, and the first opera (by Handel) later in the same year.
The present building – the third on the Covent Garden site following two disastrous fires – opened in 1858 and has been known as the Royal Opera House since 1892, and the Covent Garden complex was extensively transformed in several phases during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The book is 12 x 17 cms and costs just £13, so an excellent stocking-filler.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.