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Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK


Entertainment

Rush for Royal Opera tickets

Darcey Bussell marks the reopening of the ROH box office

Thousands of tickets for performances at London's revamped Royal Opera House have been snapped up by eager fans.

More than 87,000 tickets went on sale at 8am on Monday for the ROH's new season of music and dance, which starts with a star-studded gala on 4 December.


[ image: The first performance in the new Royal Opera House will be Verdi's Falstaff]
The first performance in the new Royal Opera House will be Verdi's Falstaff
By lunchtime, tickets for the opening gala had been sold out.

And by the end of the day, 10,000 tickets had been sold - 3,000 by telephone, 1,000 by personal callers.

Royal Ballet star Darcey Bussell was on hand to greet opera and ballet fans keen to buy the first tickets for the new season - the first since Covent Garden underwent a £241m redevelopment project.

The restructure has completely transformed the interior of the original theatre with a main auditorium capable of holding around 2,200 and a studio theatre seating around 450.

Visitors will, however, have to wait until the opening celebration on 4 December to see the changes in all their glory. For now, public access is restricted to the box office area.


[ image: A computer simulation of the Royal Ballet's new studio]
A computer simulation of the Royal Ballet's new studio
The gala evening will feature performances from celebrated tenor Placido Domingo, who is guesting with The Royal Opera.

Among the ballet's guest dancers will be Sylvie Guillem and Viviana Durante. They will be performing with permanent principals of the Royal Ballet, including Ms Bussell.

On 6 December, the Royal Opera opens its new season with a production of Verdi's Falstaff, featuring the Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel.

Two days later, the Royal Ballet begins its season with A Celebration of International Choreography.


[ image: Placido Domingo will be one of the star performers at the opening gala]
Placido Domingo will be one of the star performers at the opening gala
The ROH was shut down last year and since then a massive refurbishment has taken place, involving £78m of National Lottery money.

Last year the project was also given an extra £5.5m over two years in government subsidy.

In return for the government cash, the ROH has promised lower ticket prices and greater public access in order to reform its elitist image.





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