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Exclusive: Covent Garden removes sponsors’ names from William Tell

A sharp-eyed reader spotted that, in the opening-night programme for the ROH’s notorious rape-scene William Tell, the lead sponsors were Simon and Virginia Robertson. On the website, however, their named have been removed. Sir Simon is a retired banker and staunch Tory. The couple have been prominent supporters of the ROH for many years. We asked Covent […]

Operalia at Covent Garden

Operalia, the competition founded by Placido Domingo to help discover new operatic talent, comes to Covent Garden for the first time this year. The competition started on 13 July 2015 and the public final is on Sunday 19 July 2015 when Plácido Domingo conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a Gala Concert on Covent Garden’s main stage. Show More Summary

‘The day Jon Vickers rattled his chains at me’

The splendid English mezzo Sarah Walker has been talking to us about her experiences with Jon Vickers in the Elijah Moshinsky ROH production of Handel’s Samson in 1986.   It was my third enagement at Covent Garden and there was all sorts of things we had to be terribly careful about. Everything was built around […]

Memories of Jon Vickers

Jon Vickers as Peter Grimes at Covent Garden in 1975 I first saw the Canadian tenor Jon Vickers (1926-2015) in November 1980 at Covent Garden in a revival of the venerable 1955 Peter Potter/Georges Wakhevitch production of Verdi's Otello...Show More Summary

A tenor unlike any other

The death of Jon Vickers, aged 88, takes us back to an age when giants walked the land. Built like a stevedore, Vickers filled the stage with an unchallengeable presence. I saw him late in his career, in a cheap Covent Garden staging of Handel’s late oratorio Samson, when his pathos as the blinded giant […]

Star-Is-Born Moment: Soprano Triumphs As Violetta At Covent Garden After Only Five Hours’ Notice

2 weeks agoArts : Modern Art Notes

Ekaterina Bakanova was already in the house rehearsing her upcoming debut (as Musetta) and she’d been planning to attend Traviata that night anyway. Then her colleague Sonya Yoncheva became ill.

Disappointing Guillaume Tell at Covent Garden

Gerald Finley - Guillaume Tell - Royal Opera House photo credit Clive Barda Rossini Guillaume Tell; Gerald Finley, Malin Bystrom, John Osborn, Sofia Fonia, dir: Damiano Michieletto, cond: Antonio Pappano; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden...Show More Summary

Hub hotel has smart rooms you run from your wrist

I typically look for two things in a hotel room: Internet included with the room and free breakfast. But a new hotel in London’s Covent Gardens might have me adding some things to that list. The recently opened Hub hotel … Read more...

Just in: ROH tones down rape, covers up victim

PR man Mark Borkowski was at the second performance of William Tell at Covent Garden last night. He saw, ‘a production about as raunchy as an in flagrante tussle in Downton. Rather than being naked the actress covered herself. This altered the tone of the scene to make the rape less explicit and more stylised. […]

Advice to Covent Garden: Make it shorter

Here’s the warning letter the ROH has sent ut to all who have bought tickets for William Tell. Too long by half?   We are writing to you as you have booked a ticket for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell. You might be aware of very strong public reactions to a scene in this production in the […]

Just in: Covent Garden agrees to minmum wage

The Royal Opera House, which has been squeezing its lowest-paid staff, has made significant concessions to avoid a strike by maintenance and auxiliary workers. Covent Garden has agreed to pay the London living wage – presently £9.15 per hour – as a minimum. It will also grant a 2.75% pay rise backdated to September 2014, with […]

Exclusive: An open letter from Kasper Holten on William Tell

We have received, within hours, the following response from Covent Garden’s artistic director to an article by opera singer Catharine Rogers, arguing that the rape scene in William Tell was excessive and unnecessary. Dear all, Let me first of all emphasise that of course the reaction of Catharine and of many others make a strong […]

The singer’s tale: ‘I was sobbing and shaking in William Tell’

Catharine Rogers, a London opera singer, went to the dress rehearsal last Friday of Damiano Michieletto’s Covent Garden production of Rossini’s William Tell. In the extended rape scene, she was profoundly upset. Knowing that it was bad form to discuss a production before opening night, she stayed quiet while others booed. Then she wrote to the […]

Covent Garden’s William Tell is ‘inexcusably nasty’

First broadsheet review of last night’s storm-tossed production pulls no punches. Richard Morrison writes on the Times site: photo (c) Donald Cooper/ROH   With one inexcusably nasty five-minute sequence, rightly greeted with a performance-stopping...Show More Summary

Sustained booing at Covent Garden for new William Tell

The first night audience at the Royal Opera House is not a baying mob. Disapproval is expressed by low applause and early departure. Last night, the audience broke its behaviour rules at a bad new production. A Slipped Disc reader reports: I have just been to see William Tell at the ROH. The first night […]

Sunday Food: Visit to Neal’s Yard Dairy Farm Cheeses from the British Isles

(Picture courtesy of Kalina Wilson at Some posts come out to get you, and this is one.  Last Saturday I was strolling around the Covent Garden area, just enjoying the ancient cobblestone streets and the bric-a-brac of stonework and sculpture on the buildings.   Then I happened onto a lady out in front of a...

The Royal Ballet's "Don Quixote" and Celebration Gala (PHOTOS)

It was a royal week for Chicago when The Royal Ballet, Great Britain's most prestigious ballet company based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, came into town (oh yeah, and that time the Blackhawks brought home the Stanley Cup) after a 37-year-absence bringing their critically-acclaimed performance of Carlos Acosta's "Don Quixote". Show More Summary

Excuse me, but why isn't this man conducting Wagner at Covent Garden and Bayreuth?

Here's my review for The Independent of Tristan und Isolde at Longborough Festival Opera the other day. GO. NOW. Only two more performances, one of which is today.I'm seeing Tristan again at Bayreuth in August, incidentally, and I challenge...Show More Summary

Two Covent Garden chiefs earn over £250,000

A tweet from Rupert Christiansen prompts us to take a closer look at the Royal Opera House accounts for the year ended 31 August 2014, the more so in light of Peter Gelb’s inflated salary at the Metropolitan Opera. What we find is that Sir Antonio Pappano took home just under £539,000 ($840k), which is […]

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