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Competition: Win a piece of Royal Opera House History

Have you ever wanted to own a piece of Royal Opera House history?

By Royal Opera House

14 September 2011 at 12.02pm

Our costume sale takes place later this month at the High House Production Park in Purfleet and is a rare opportunity for the public to buy pieces worn in various Royal Opera House productions, from The Sleeping Beauty to Lohengrin, Don Carlo to Parsifal.

To celebrate this rare event we’re offering an exclusive piece as a prize in a competition…

The Prize

On offer is a glamorous nymph’s costume from The Sleeping Beauty (as pictured above modelled by dancers from the Royal Ballet behind Darcey Bussell), a cornerstone of the Royal Ballet’s repertory and as such a true piece of Royal Opera House history. The costume was originally worn by Laura McCulloch and Natalie Harrison.

How to enter

For a chance of winning this piece of Royal Opera House history, simply tell us your favourite Royal Opera House related memory – What was your favourite production? Who stole the show? Did you bring a friend or relative and have their socks blown off? Whatever your tale, share it with us!

Whatever your memory, there are a number of ways to share it and enter the competition:

  • Write it on our Facebook wall
  • Tweet it using the hashtag #ROHMemories
  • Comment on this article. [Update: Comments now closed]

We’ll pick one winner on Friday 23 September 2011. The Royal Opera House’s decision is final and no alternative prize will be offered.

Good luck!

By Royal Opera House

14 September 2011 at 12.02pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged The Royal Ballet, Thurrock

This article has 23 comments

  1. Caroline Bijl responded on 20 September 2011 at 12:50pm

    My expierence is dated back in 2009 when i visit the Royal Opera House for a Backstage tour. The experience was that I had an ex-dancer as tourguide, saw a dressrehearsal of Sleeping Beauty, saw all principals in one class and that i have seen Monica Mason!! Kind regards Caroline Bijl from the Netherlands

  2. Laura Beswick responded on 21 September 2011 at 1:50pm

    I remember going to see Tamara Rojo in Don Quixote a few years back with my mother as a birthday present. I was absolutely blown away by the Spanish passion she injected into the role! Quite possibly the best and most appropriate casting of Kitri I've seen to date.

  3. Linda responded on 21 September 2011 at 2:52pm

    One Royal Ballet performances I will never forget is Sylvie Guillem and Johnathon Cope dancing Manon, the final PDD was just breathtaking, not a sound could be heard in the auditorium. I took a young dancer with me who had never been to The Opera House before and was not at all sure if it was the path he wanted to take. When it had finished I i asked him what he thought, he was crying, I have to dance was his reply. So two memories from one great performance. That performance of Manon has never been beaten for me and I don.t think it ever will be.

  4. Georgina Wells responded on 22 September 2011 at 10:55am

    I've loved every single trip to the Royal Opera House but the one that stands out is my first ballet - 'The Sleeping Beauty' in December 2006. My train was delayed so when I arrived with my parents, we had to sit and watch the Prologue in the Crush Room on a TV. I was so upset at missing the beginning that I had to escape to the toilets to cry! But within five minutes of taking our seats for the first act, I'd forgotten all about it. Marianela Nunez's smile lit the entire auditorium and the Waltz of the Flowers was so beautiful that I cried all over again. In a good way. That performance made me and my parents come back again and again, but it's still my favourite ballet - and the Royal Opera House is my favourite place in the world.

  5. Laura Read responded on 22 September 2011 at 10:56am

    When I was 20 my boyfriend took me to the Royal Opera House to see The Nutcracker as a Christmas present. We were poor students at the time and our seats were very limited visibility - I seem to remember that we had to stand up and lean forward to see the stage! - but even then it was a wonderful evening that has lived with me ever since. As a child I had danced in The Nutcracker as both a rat and a flute (with the sugarplum fairy) in a local dance school production and dreamt of becoming a ballerina. Unfortunately my body had other ideas, but that evening took me right back to those childhood dreams and made me feel alive.

  6. Lucy responded on 22 September 2011 at 10:57am

    For me it has to be a performance by Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in Swan Lake about 3 years ago. The whole thing was absolutely spellbinding - I've never seen the company be so in tune with each other and the orchestra. I remember that the last arabesque was dropped from the end of the Pas de Deux in Act 2, which meant that Alina Cojocaru dropped into the reclined 5th position just at the last pluck from the strings, which was so beautiful. I haven't seen it danced the same since, so the memory is rather special!

  7. Greg responded on 22 September 2011 at 11:12am

    First thing I did arrived in London to study was to register for the 10 pounds student scheme. A few days later the first offer arrived in my inbox. I was ecstatic. I gathered all my friends from university and went together to a ballet. My first time in the ROH. I was really seduced. Many many visits followed. But there is always a special place in my heart for that first time with my new friends standing in awe in front of the grandeur.

  8. Jane Guitar responded on 22 September 2011 at 11:17am

    While visiting family in London, I attended the last production which was TOSCA before it began its renovation. Fabulous Then! Fabulous Now! Always go there when in London!

  9. Sarah Mercer responded on 22 September 2011 at 11:24am

    My most memorable experience at the Royal Opera House was going to see the triple bill of MacMillan's Concerto, Judas Tree and Elite Syncopations. My favourite was Elite Syncopations, which I found the choreography exciting, especially the subtle and unexpected point of humour during the pas de deux. The costumes were exquisite and I loved the ragtime band on stage. I thought it was a very refined and beautiful ballet, cleverly produced such that classical elements were preserved along with new and innovative ideas, and far different from any ballet I had previously seen. Along with the beautiful dancers, Marianela Nunez, Leanne Benjamin and Sarah Lamb, this was one of my most unforgettable visits to see the Royal Ballet.

  10. Vanessa Wilde responded on 22 September 2011 at 12:10pm

    My key memory was being taken as a child to see "Cinderella" as a Christma treat - sitting in the front row of the Grand Tier in my best party dress the whole thing was magical - Margot Fonteyn WAS Cinderella, the Ugly Sisters were nasty and funny and still my favourite costumes ever for the "Stars" - chic, glamourous and beautiful - it began a lifelong addiction to ballet and to enjoying the magic created at the Royal Opera House. Something I have been able to share with others and enjoyed their discovery of the wonder of a great performances with creative artists all producing the highest quality for work for our pleasure.

  11. Andrew responded on 22 September 2011 at 12:36pm

    I made a little present a surprise for a friend who had never attended the ballet and is not available to attend normal performances due to work commitments.
    I booked a Sunday matinee for a triple bill and told them to leave the Sunday afternoon on the date free. The only other information that I provided was that they would need to wear smart casual, although there may be people dressed rather smartly.
    It was fabulous to see the eyes of wonder as they took in the opulent elegance of the surrounds from the prime place of the central grand tier seats on the balcony rail, then the absolute joy to once again see the eyes of an adult become that of a child as the sublime magic of the performance took hold.

  12. Louisa Hall responded on 22 September 2011 at 2:30pm

    I came to see Romeo and Juliet with my mum in January 2010 as a late christmas present, with Tamara Rojo and Rupert Pennefather. The production was astounding, the energy from the dancers, the soloists, the orchestral poignancy in the music, but The scene in Act II where Juliet sits on the bed after deciding to drink the sleeping poison to escape her marriage to Paris raised the emotional capacity of the production to new levels. Tamara Rojo sat completely still, knees together, feet en pointe, as the thunderous anguish of Prokofiev's score rolled around the auditorium. I don't know how she did it, but I have never seen anyone convey so much feeling and emotion in one position, while she didn't move, her body was crying out Juliet's anguish, despair, and determination to be reunited with her husband. It was the singular most powerful moment I have ever experienced at a live performance.

  13. Nathalie Betts responded on 22 September 2011 at 7:37pm

    Sarah Lamb transported me straight to Cinderella's miserable kitchen in her stunning role as Cinderella. She brought a distinct quality to the role which made it so very memorable. The opening scene was especially atmospheric as she lay collapsed exhausted on the floor in front of the open fire. I was drawn in by Prokofiev's music the scene and the music evoked memories of long winter days coming home from work. And just like Cinderella I find that shoes can provide much excitement and be the perfect escape.

  14. Ran Li responded on 22 September 2011 at 8:02pm

    Back to summer 2009 I was very down, there were some issues with my master degree and UK student visa. My best friend offered to take me to see Odine at ROH. That was the most beautiful love story I've ever seen, the dance was flawless. My biggest surprise of that night was that I found out one of my favourite fashion designers Mr. Julien Macdonald was sitting right behind me. We had a sweat little chat, Mr Macdonald was very kind. My spirit was totally lifted up after the evening. Later on my visa has been renewed and I have successfully graduated from Imperial College. That was the best evening ever.

  15. Melinda Traves responded on 22 September 2011 at 10:17pm

    My husband took me to see Giselle last January for my birthday. Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo were dancing. We were sitting in the stalls near the front and could see their incredible acting as well as their amazing technique. I have seen Giselle many times, but this performance actually made me cry. It was the most beautiful production I've ever seen.

  16. Sam Smith responded on 23 September 2011 at 11:03am

    I have seen most Royal Opera and Ballet productions over recent years, but the trip I remember most vividly was to see Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s 2005 production of Il barbiere di Siviglia in January 2011. There is something about Rossini’s music that cannot fail to lift you, whatever mood you are feeling in at the time. What made this performance so memorable, however, was the strength of the cast which didn’t feature a single weak player. For me the standout performance came from Aleksandra Kurzak as Rosina who in ‘Una voce poco fal’ presented a convincing and highly entertaining portrayal of a bored little madam who we could hardly doubt would get her own way. Tossing out coloratura with ease, the combination of rich tones, flexibility of approach, exquisite phrasing and priceless facial expressions made for a memorable performance. I just loved the way that there was a bite to this Rosina’s feistiness that made it easier to believe that she could be a viper when crossed than that her default position was obedient, sweet and loving! I also particularly enjoyed Ildar Abdrazakov’s performance as Don Basilio, who applied the right combination of comedy and creepiness to his ode to calumny, and ended the aria perched aloft Bartolo’s chair, the Doctor quaking between his knees.

  17. Rebecca Forth responded on 23 September 2011 at 11:59am

    Bringing my 2.5 year old daughter to the La Fille mal Gardeé matinée performance. She participated in a workshop and wondered at the tutus in the bar. But walking into the box of the opera house took her breath away. She gasped and drank the atmosphere in before she could share it with us. She sat reading the programme looking at the audience waiting patiently for the beginning. By the time the orchestra started the theatre was silent. There was a lull in the music and she announced rather loudly - "Where are the chickens?" .

    1/2 of the Theatre definitely heard and there were many kind smiles. Luckily the orchestra was loud enough on Lise's entrance that nobody heard her ask "where's Colas" later on.

    She has since gone on to see Romeo and Juliet at the O2 (with her brother who was 8 months and loved it) and has tickets for this years Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Henrietta is now 4, still loves ballet, goes to ballet classes herself and still thinks Carlos Acosta's real name is Colas who is sometimes Romeo.

  18. Kate Hague responded on 23 September 2011 at 12:23pm

    My most treasured memories are the performances I attended at The Royal Opera House while I lived in London as a ballet student . I watched in awe and inspiration my idols performances, Anthony Dowell as Oberon in A Midsummernights Dream, Lesley Collier as Sleeping Beauty (with the beautiful Margeurite Porter as the Lilac Fairy), Jennifer Penney as Manon.......impossible to select one as each one was magic.....Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, A Month in the Country, Cinderella, The Rite of Sring, The Firebird, Gloria.......thank you for all these treasured memories.

  19. Deborah responded on 23 September 2011 at 1:02pm

    The most memorable experience at the Royal Opera House for me was the ballet 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' with Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin as the lead dancers. At that time I was feeling extremely down with the workload from university as well as my part time job, so going to the opera house was always a sort of an escape from reality for me. I was very excited for the performance as it was a new production and I didn't know what to expect. The performance was exceptionally fun and enjoyable. The scene of Zenaida Yanowsky's Queen of Hearts mock version of the Rose Adagio had me rolling in laughter. My favourite scene of the night was the Pas de duex of the lead dancers, the music was wonderfully sweet and both dancers did great job. I left the Opera House that night with a huge smile plastered on my face as I recall all the joyous scenes in the ballet. The performance was truly one of the most 'happifying' things I have seen.

  20. Kathi palitz responded on 23 September 2011 at 1:39pm

    I have dreamt about coming to see something at the ROH for years. Last Christmas my oldest daughter was 4 my youngest was nearly two and we were expecting baby number three in March. As you can imagine nights out are a very seldom occurrence! I thought it would be lovely to have a special night out for me and my husband before we were once again busy with a new baby, sleepless nights and no social life and all that comes with it. So I bought us two tickets to see "Die Zauberflöte" on the 22nd of Feb this year. I also gave my partner a cd of the opera and we spent many evenings playing it over and over to the bump! The day of the performance drew nearer- a babysitter was booked, table for a romantic pre show dinner at the ROH, I even bought a dress to fit the bump! The morning of the show my then youngest daughter started to vomit, fever the works! No way could we leave her alone. I think I cried the whole day! We called the ROH and asked about changing the tickets but it was to short before the show. In the end we gave the tickets away to a work colleague of my husbands, for free as we were desperate for the tickets to be at least used by someone. I cried even more the next day when my husbands' colleague reported how amazing the production was. I thought that something good surely must come our way because of our misfortune on that day and for making someone else's night so special. Just three weeks after our beautiful daughter was born, and even though we didn't call her Amadeus she very much loves to listen to "Die Zauberflöte". I am sure that one day I will get my chance to see something at the ROH and I am very much looking forward to it!!

  21. Athanasios Kolalas responded on 23 September 2011 at 1:53pm

    My most favorite moment connected to the ROH was the second time I saw the repertoire performance of “La Boheme”. It was 2008 and I went with my friend. After the perfect dinner in the Crush Room we attended a magical performance . Great cast , great sets and costumes and of course Puccini’s grand music. Had I got to highlight a moment in the opera ,this would be Musetta’s waltz and the quintet. A production of high quality and with the standards of the ROH.
    Thanks a lot for the “magic” you give to our lives…..

  22. Ulrike responded on 23 September 2011 at 2:51pm

    I don’t have one but several treasured memories... Over the years I have been to see and listen to so many brilliant opera and ballet performances… so what to pick? There have been lots of memorable events but I think I pick this one because it is my most personal:
    Days after the events around 9/11 had hit the world, I queued up for tickets for the production premiere of Rigoletto. Next to me in the queue was a man with whom I started a conversation – as you do. He was a music professor from the US who just had held a lecture in St. Petersburg and was “stranded” in London. He had to interrupt his trip back to New York because his apartment was near the WTC and friends told him that, well, it basically went up in smoke… burnt to the ground… gone… everything… But he didn’t let the events take him down! “London has the best tailors. I take the opportunity to get a new wardrobe done,” was one of his remarks. But the main reason for him to stay in London was the ROH. “This is the best place. The ROH is fantastic. They make the best music here. You immerge into whatever happens on stage and in the pit, and you forget the world around you!” Later, in the interval at that nights’ performance, we had a drink and he told me that listening to great music brilliantly done gives him comfort and strength to face the uncertainty of what to expect when he gets back home.
    I don't know his name or saw him ever again but I have to think of him every time I step through the revolving doors onto Covent Garden Market and the nightly breeze calls me back into the real world after another great performance…
    Thank you guys!

  23. Royal Opera House responded on 23 September 2011 at 3:04pm

    Entries for this competition are now closed. We’ll be announcing the winner on Monday 26th September and posting a selection of your entries. Thank you for entering and good luck!

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  1. Royal Opera House:  Roll up, roll up – massive costume sale!