Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Jenni's Guide to Attending a Royal Ballet Performance - Part 2

If you plan to attend a performance at the Royal Opera House for the first time, here is some practical advice:

1. There is no dress code. The way people dress is quite mixed, from jeans to suits and pretty dresses. However, people rarely dress in black tie and ball gowns. You can't go wrong with smart casual.

2. Arrive at least half an hour before the performance begins. This will give you plenty of time to check your coats, pre-order drinks for the interval, etc.

3. Check your coat/umbrella/extra bags at the cloak room! It's free and you'll be much more comfortable in your seat.

The Paul Hamlyn Bar
4. Pre-order drinks for the interval! There are two bars: the Paul Hamlyn bar on the first floor and the Amphitheatre bar on the top floor. You will be able to pick your drinks up from a pre-assigned location (the salesperson at the bar will explain where) and avoid waiting in line to buy drinks during the interval. (Also, if you want to guarantee yourself a table to sit at during the interval, pre-order sandwiches/cakes - but you may, of course, prefer to stand or walk around).

5. Programmes cost £6 and can be bought from in the main entrance foyer, the Paul Hamlyn Hall and the Amphitheatre lobby. Cast sheets are free.

6. Check out the view of Covent Garden Market from the roof terrace! The roof terrace can be accessed on most evenings from the amphitheatre bar on the top floor. From the terrace you can also peek into the windows of the costume workshops!

7. Don't miss the exhibition! In the foyer and along corridors are exhibited costumes and photos from past productions well worth checking out.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Five Reasons to Attend a ROH Live Cinema Screening

While nothing beats being there, here are a few reasons why ROH's live cinema screenings are worthwhile:

1. You have the best view (at the price of a cinema ticket). Even with the best seats in the house, you will never get to see the dancers this close up. It's very emotional.

2. You get to sit in comfortable seats and eat popcorn.

3. The backstage camera lets you see the dancers getting ready just before the curtain goes up. 

4. During the interval, you can watch insight clips which include interviews with the cast and the making of videos.

5. With the help of Twitter you can connect with people all around the world sharing the same experience. 

Find the next ROH live screening near you here!

Also note that it's not just the Royal Opera House that does live screenings. Amongst others, the National Theatre and the New York Metropolitan Opera do live screenings too. Check your local cinema for information! 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ballet Dancers in Music Videos

Today, I found this great article on the Royal Ballet website discussing ballet in pop. And below are a couple of more contemporary examples featuring Royal Ballet dancers, Edward Watson and Elizabeth Harrod.

Edward Watson in The Feeling's "Boy Cried Wolf"

Elizabeth Harrod in Keaton Henson's "To Your Health"

And here's one more, featuring Alessandra Ferri of the American Ballet Theatre:

Alessandra Ferri and Sting: 'Prelude' from  
"Cello Suite No. 1 in G major" by JS Bach

Monday, 10 March 2014

Jenni's Guide to Attending a Royal Ballet Performance - Part 1: How to Get Reasonably Priced Tickets

If you have never attended the Royal Ballet because you have been put off by the ticket prices, here is some advice on how to get reasonably priced tickets!

Royal Opera House auditorium
1. Not all tickets to ROH are expensive: around 400 seats are priced at £30 or less. So if you are able to plan ahead, it is actually possible to get reasonably priced tickets the regular way through the box office/website. Seats are either distant, restricted view or standing only, but the experience is still enjoyable. I recommend the front of the Amphitheatre. Although quite far away, you get a nice bird's-eye view of the stage, which can be very satisfying.

2. If you have three friends, get a balcony box for £32 per person! You must purchase the whole box which seats four. Boxes are located at the ends of the balcony circle, so the view is restricted (you cannot see the back corner of the stage on the side you are sitting on). On the other hand, you will be sitting close enough to the stage to make out the dancers' face expressions and get the full emotional impact of the performance.

Entrance to ROH from Covent Garden Piazza
3. If you have a schedule that allows you to be free between 9 and 10 am on the morning of the performance, you can queue for day tickets, which cost £30 or less. There are a total of 67 tickets, which are sold on the day from 10 am at Box Office. I recommend queuing from around 9.15 am. The queue forms at the entrance situated under the covered arcade in the corner of Covent Garden Piazza (i.e. along the bit where the Disney Store, the Build-a-Bear Workshop and Penguin Clothing are located). Note that only one ticket is sold per person. Seats are located mostly in the Amphitheatre and Stall Circles - which seats to go for depends on whether you prefer to have a bird's-eye view or an up-close-but-restricted view (see points 1 and 2).

4. Try the Linbury Studio Theatre. This is ROH's smaller stage located in the basement. The Linbury Studio theatre often hosts smaller visiting companies (this season include Ballet Black and the Northern Ballet), but also more experimental works with members from the Royal Ballet (for example Hansel and Gretel and Draft Works). Tickets for performances here tend to cost no more than £25 and because it is a smaller venue, no matter where you sit, you get a good view. 

5. Finally, if you're a student, you can sign up for ROH's student standby scheme to get £10 standby tickets. However, opportunities don't seem to come around that often, and when they do, you have to be incredibly quick. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Lunch with the FT: Edward Watson

Ok, it's a few years out of date, but this is the most interesting portrait of Ed Watson I've read in a while: Lunch with the FT: Edward Watson Still worth a read!