The Royal Opera House is one of the worlds finest theatres and is home of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. It is situated in the corner of Covent Garden in London.
The first theatre on the site was founded in 1732 and was known as the Theatre Royal. Charles II granted it a near-monopoly on drama in London and it was responsible for the development of the Christmas pantomime. It was destroyed by fire in 1808.
The secondTheatre Royal opened in 1809 and, soon after the drama oligopoly was broken in 1843, it was renamed the Royal Italian Opera House.
Another fire struck in 1856 and the third theatre opened in 1858. It was renamed the Royal Opera House in 1892.
During World War One the theatre became a furniture warehouse and through World War Two it was a Mecca Dance Hall.
The theatre was completely redecorated between 1997 and 1999 using a conroversial national lottery grant.