Lucy Cavendish Alumnae Association visit to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden
by Judith Roberts on 28 February 2017
February 11th 2017
Judith Roberts (LCC, 1973)
On a cold, sleety Saturday morning in February, fifteen Lucy Girls, friends and partners met in the lobby of the Royal Opera House. Our excitement was palpable and after we had all introduced ourselves to each other, we were met by our guide, who was quite a dramatic experience in herself, as she gave us a fascinating narrative illustrated by facial expressions, gestures and wry humour.
We were taken from the lobby into the entrance corridor of the auditorium, where our guide provided a lightning history of the theatre before leading us into the stalls, to be told that our seats would have cost £200 had we been there for an opera! We were enchanted by the splendours of the theatre, which has been re-gilded in the recent past and glowed with golden light. The stage crew were setting up the stage and testing the lighting for a matinee of Woolf Works, a ballet based on the novels of Virginia Woolf.
We were shown the most recent buildings and renovations, and heard how the auditorium has been altered over the years to accommodate changing public tastes; a 19th century audience, for example, would talk and eat throughout a performance and seemed to mind very little if they had a poor view of the stage. Queen Victoria sat in a box almost at right angles to the stage, where she could hardly have seen anything…but the audience could all see her! Later, we visited her box and several alums sat in her place and experienced the royal view.
For just over an hour we travelled through the maze of back-stage corridors, through the old building and into the newer space, where we could see members of the Royal Ballet limbering up for their afternoon performance. We were all reluctant to leave the building and agreed that the visit could have been twice as long and still we would have found it too brief.
Most of our group then walked on towards Trafalgar Square, where we had a very jolly lunch, after which we went our separate ways, agreeing to continue our conversations when we meet again at future Alumnae events. We would all like to thank Katerina Georgopoulou (of the LCCAAC Events Sub-Committee) for organising this excellent trip.