Royal Opera House Collections manages a constantly changing programme of exhibitions, both at the Royal Opera House and on tour. These exhibitions celebrate the companies and the building, commemorate anniversaries and significant events. They are also an important showcase for ROH Collections, enabling original material to be viewed by a wider public.
Royal Opera House Exhibitions
Each season, between September and August, there are two Main Exhibitions that fill the costume cases and the Amphitheatre Gallery for approximately four consecutive months. A series of smaller Spotlight Exhibitions fill some of the wall cases and foyer areas for periods of four to six weeks through the season.
Exhibitions can be visited for free during normal daytime opening Monday-Friday, 10am–3.30pm. Before making a special visit, please call +44(0)20 7304 4000 to check that the front of house spaces are open.
Latest News and Features from ROH Collections.
Nadia Nerina, Principal Ballerina with The Royal Ballet
When: 22 March–17 August 2013
Where:Carriage Entranceway, Foyer Link, Cloakroom Corridor, Amphitheatre Bar
Nadia Nerina’s vitality and the quality described by Ninette de Valois as her “lovely, natural flow of movement” shine out from the images of her as a dancer and in the film footage made by Margaret Dale. In the season that marks the 60th anniversary of her becoming a Principal Dancer of Sadler’s Wells Ballet later The Royal Ballet, there is a unique opportunity to recall Nerina the dancer through a selection of the material about her career she collected herself. Thanks to the generosity of the Philip Loubser Foundation the Nadia Nerina Collection has been donated to the Royal Opera House. In addition the Foundation has paid for the conservation of the costumes, memorabilia and the cans of BBC film and has supported this free exhibition. Costumes, images and memorabilia will be on display and Lynne Wake, independent film maker, has been commissioned to create a short exhibition film interspersing footage of Nerina dancing with the memories of her contemporaries.
Isabel Rawsthorne Moving Bodies
When: 18 March–17 August 2013
Isabel Rawsthorne is perhaps better known to the ballet world as Isabel Lambert. The artist married Constant Lambert in 1947 and they collaborated with Frederick Ashton on his ballet Tiresias in 1951, one of four works Rawsthorne designed for the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Companies. She began to sketch dancers during stage rehearsals and then from the mid 1950s Isabel was granted privileged access to the Company’s rehearsal studios in Hammersmith. Over the next twenty years she produced a significant body of work, both drawings and paintings, based on her observations of dancers including Margot Fonteyn, Svetlana Beriosova and Antoinette Sibley in motion. This spring and summer there is a unique opportunity to view these works at the Royal Opera House in a free exhibition.
Some of this material was exhibited during her lifetime and much remained in her possession until she died in 1992. In 2008 the Royal Opera House acquired theatre designs for productions at Covent Garden from Rawsthorne’sestate who then donated a number of drawings and a painting of dancers in rehearsal to Royal Opera House Collections which form the Isabel Lambert Collection.
In 2012 The New Art Gallery in Walsall curated an exhibition from the material that remained with the estate to mark the centenary of Isabel Rawsthorne’s birth. This forms the basis of the current exhibition alongside a selection of the works given to the Royal Opera House in 2008. This is the first time the works have been displayed in London since 1998.
When: 12 February–17 August 2013
Frederick Ashton, Founder Choreographer of The Royal Ballet and one of the great 20th century choreographers, devoted almost the whole of his career to working with The Royal Ballet. In the year which sees the 25th anniversary of his death on 19 August 1988, ROH Collections have curated a photographic overview of his ballets. The first half of the exhibition can be seen until 30 April and begins in 1935 when Ashton joined the fledging Vic-Wells Ballet as its Founder Choreographer and takes us up until 1959. From 1 May until 17 August, the exhibition features ballets created by Ashton between 1960 and 1981.
Visit the ROH Collections website to find out more about the department’s work