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Welcome Performances: A fun introduction for opera and ballet first-timers

Events give families the chance to attend world-class productions for a fraction of the usual cost.

By Anna Coleman (Learning and Participation Intern)

20 January 2014 at 3.58pm | Comment on this article

One Sunday morning in early January the Royal Opera House opened its doors to hundreds of families for a performance of Carmen. For many of these parents and children this was their first visit to the opera, and the ROH did its best to make it special! On arrival the children were presented with Royal Opera House goodie bags, packed with badges, activity books, colouring pencils and binoculars. The Paul Hamlyn Hall, the Crush Room and the Amphitheatre bars and restaurants became designated areas of creative magic led by professionals of the Royal Opera House: design workshops, ’have a go’ musical instrument sessions, live music, dressing up and make-up demonstrations.

Highlights of the day included Flamenco Pasiόn, a London dance company led by Spanish dancer Sandra La Espuelita, who followed their flawless flamenco displays with three participatory drop-in workshops. Focusing on the basic rhythms and choreography of the traditional ‘flamenco puro’ technique, the Paul Hamlyn Hall echoed to the sound of clapping and castanets.

Visitors were also treated to a performance from the Romany Theatre Company at intervals throughout the morning, with Company actors Candis Nergaard and Damian Le Bas performing a prelude to the five-part radio drama based on Carmen recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A Q&A session took place after the final performance.

‘My favourite workshop was in the Crush Room making my match box factory’ said nine-year-old Molly Stapleton.

Pre-booked backstage tours took place throughout the morning, giving families the opportunity to learn about the history of the Royal Opera House, sit in the Grand Tier of the auditorium, and gain an insight into the everyday duties undertaken backstage at the Royal Opera House.

This was all rounded off by a stunning performance of Carmen on the Main Stage, starring the acclaimed soprano Anita Rachvelishvili.

Welcome Performances are the perfect opportunity for families and young people to gain access to ballet and opera in an exciting, stimulating and affordable way. Tickets for the productions start at just £5, with the top ticket prices at only £20.

Find out more about Welcome performances and register now to be alerted when we announce the Welcome Performance for 2014/15.

Welcome Performances are generously supported by Gregory and Regina Annenberg Weingarten through The Annenberg Foundation. 

By Anna Coleman (Learning and Participation Intern)

20 January 2014 at 3.58pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged activity, Backstage, costume, family, make-up, welcome performance

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