Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, provides orchestral accompaniment for the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet and performs its own concert season. The first true opera produced in England was The Siege of Rhodes (1656), produced by William Davenant and written by a group of five composers. Davenant received a patent from King Charles II to build a theater "wherein tragedies, comedies, plays, operas, music, scenes and all other entertainment of the stage..." were to be performed. Davenant's successor, John Rich, in 1728 had in one of the great hits in English operatic history, John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Its profits allowed Rich to build the Theatre Royal at Covent Garden, site of an old convent (hence the name), which opened on December 7, 1732, with Congreve's The Way of the World. The theater at Covent ... Read Full Biography

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