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Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 01:11 GMT
Picture gallery: Opera's glittering night

The Royal Opera House has been reopened with a gala evening in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

After a three-year refurbishment, guests at the black-tie event enjoyed a special performance by the Royal Ballet and music from Placido Domingo to mark the occasion.





Work on the opera house in central London cost 214m, and though the venue's historic auditorium remains, backstage and other areas have been extensively rebuilt.



The Queen dazzled in a cream and gold outfit, which Buckingham Palace said may have been inspired by the lavish surroundings.



Tony and Cherie Blair met workers involved in the refurbishment before settling into their seats for the evening.



Bosses hope the reopening will signal a new lease of life for the opera house after years of controversy and accusations of snobbery, elitism and mismanagement.



Former prime minister Lady Thatcher and husband Denis were among the VIP guests.


T
The Queen was full of smiles as she met Placido Domingo after the performance.



Principal ballerina Darcey Bussell also benefited from the Queen's obvious delight in the evening's celebrations.



Now the government wants to see the venue become a "people's opera house" with cheaper tickets and free concerts.

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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Royal rebirth for Opera House

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