Answers from Our Experts (2)
London has two major opera companies, both of which present a selection of traditional productions and innovative new works. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera while English National Opera can be found at the London Coliseum on St. Martin's Lane. Book a ticket at either venue and you'll find yourself in the presence of one of the world's leading opera companies. The Royal Opera House also runs tours of its auditorium and backstage areas, which are a great way of getting to know this extraordinary building a little better.
For a more intimate experience, check out London's Little Opera House, aka The King's Head Theatre. This tiny north London venue is home to the Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose and serves up a diverse range of small-scale productions.
In the summertime there's even more on offer. Opera Holland Park presents mainly classics in the sublime surroundings of Holland Park in Kensington. Shows take place in the open air under a temporary canopy.
Towards the end of the summer, those up for something a bit more challenging will love Grimeborn and Tête à Tête, two opera festivals taking place at the Arcola Theatre and the Riverside Studios respectively, both top London fringe theatres. Featuring small-scale, often short and almost always surprising work, these events turn the art form on its head and are well worth exploring.
As a tourist in London, the best place to watch opera is at the Royal Opera House. Not only as it is located in the heart of touristic London, on the edge of Covent Garden, but also because its status as the permanent residence of The Royal Opera means this venue guarantees excellent operatic productions throughout the year. During this 2013/2014 season they will show a variety of classics, such as Giacomo Puccini's Turandot and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, alongside brand new productions like Ben Frost's The Wasp Factory.
Another good option for opera lovers is the London Coliseum in St. Martin's Lane, just moments from Leicester Square - home to the English National Opera. During the second half of 2013 they will show Beethoven's Fidelio, Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Philip Glass' Satyagraha - plus a brand new version of Madame Butterfly by Academy Award-winning film director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient).
Elsewhere, you will find stand-alone operatic productions in various prestigious theaters, including a production of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the Barbican Centre and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado at Hackney Empire.