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Guide to the Royal Opera House Spring Season 2012/13

Helpful links and information on booking for forthcoming performances.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

21 November 2012 at 7.10pm | 35 Comments

Priority booking opens this week for Premium and Supporting Friends of Covent Garden. The main group of Friends of Covent Garden can book for Royal Ballet productions from 4 December and for Royal Opera productions on 5 December. Booking opens to the general public on 15 January.

View our spring seating plan and price guide.

Booking for Advanced Spring Packages also opens this week. Find out full details.

The Royal Opera opens the Spring Season with David McVicar’s enchanting production of Die Zauberflöte, a sophisticated fairytale brought to life on stage by McVicar’s fantastical staging. Mozart’s classic is followed by Nicholas Hytner’s magisterial production of Verdi’s Don Carlo, set in the political and religious turmoil of Renaissance France and Spain. The Spring Season also includes two new productions on the main stage: Rossini’s La donna del lago - a production by Associate Director of Opera John Fulljames - and Richard Jones’s production of Britten’s Gloriana, which marks both 60 years since the opera’s premiere at Covent Garden and the centenary of Britten’s birth.

From the exoticism of 19th century India, to political intrigue in Austria, via the weird and wonderful world of Lewis Carroll,  The Royal Ballet is staging three big narrative ballets in the Spring Season. Christopher Wheeldon’s magical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland opens on 15 March, followed by Makarova’s La Bayadère. A tragic tale about the life of a temple dancer, Bayadère is famous for the mesmerizing Kingdom of Shades sequence. Kenneth MacMillan’s dramatic Mayerling follows, opening on 19 April. Based on the life and suicide of the disturbed Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary, it is considered to be one of MacMillan’s most psychologically and choreographically rich ballets.

In the Linbury Studio Theatre you can experience a programme of new ballets choreographed by members of The Royal Ballet, in our annual Draftworks performances. Kafka Fragments is acclaimed director Netia Jones's production of a song cycle based on Kafka's letters and diaries, while another literary source is transformed into performance in David Bruce's magical opera adapted from Philip Pullman's story The Firework-Maker's Daughter. Co-produced by The Opera Group and Opera North, The Firework-Maker's Daughter is also a new production by John Fulljames.

To accompany the productions on-stage, Royal Opera House Restaurants are providing menus tailored specially for each production. Find out more closer to the time in our Restaurants and Bars section.

This article has 35 comments

  1. Cynthia Miller responded on 1 December 2012 at 11:29pm Reply

    Why are you not telling us the time Friends advance on-line or telephone booking starts on 4 December?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 3 December 2012 at 3:38pm

      Hi Cynthia,

      Booking opens at 10am.


      Social Media Manager

  2. Annie Galliano responded on 4 December 2012 at 10:14am Reply

    Tried to book Young British Dancer of the Year just now - has it been moved (when)? Thanks

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 4 December 2012 at 11:38am

      Hi Annie,

      This will be available to book for all from 13 December.


      Social Media Manager

  3. Jeanne Constable responded on 5 December 2012 at 8:01pm Reply

    The only way I've been able to find out what time booking starts is to log on and try to book something a few days before booking starts and then I get a message saying booking starts from a given time on a given day. Presumably I've missed some more obvious way of finding out. Could you please tell me what it is?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 6 December 2012 at 10:01am

      Hi Jeanne,

      Booking days for each production are listed on production pages, under the 'When to see it' section.


      Content Producer (Social Media and News)

  4. woodie scott responded on 12 December 2012 at 11:21am Reply

    when does booking for the Don Carlo rehearsal on May 1st open to the general public?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 December 2012 at 12:41pm

      Hi Woodie,

      Booking opens on 15 January. Hope to see you at one of the performances!


      Online Content Producer

  5. Mike responded on 2 January 2013 at 9:40pm Reply

    Does general booking for La Bayadere being at 10am on the 15th and is that by telephone or on line or both? Thanks

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 3 January 2013 at 10:09am

      Hi Mike,

      Public booking opens at 10am on 15 January both online and via phone.


      Online Content Producer

  6. Apparently there are ten comments on this article - I can only see five, no matter how I try to catch the rest. Where are they please?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 9 January 2013 at 10:29am

      Hi Margaret,

      Comments are moderated and so may not appear instantly. These have now been cleared.


      Online Content Producer

  7. Grayston Burgess responded on 13 January 2013 at 8:06pm Reply

    Why can't you put the whole Season of Operas etc on
    your website instead of only Winter 2012 and Spring
    2013. As far as I am concerned the Season starts in
    September and ends in August the following year. Surely you know at the very least what you planning even if you don't have all the artists signed up. To keep
    last year's events still floating around on your Website is no help to anyone.

  8. Stephen Brook responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:46am Reply

    Nightmare trying to book online this morning. Selected seats turned out to be 'no longer available', the basket was filled, then mysteriously emptied, then filled again, so it was almost impossible to know whether the correct order was being processed. Also procesing page froze, so had to start again. Ended up with poor seats on poor dates rather than the seats I had selected but been unable to process.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 15 January 2013 at 12:12pm

      Hi Stephen,

      Apologies about your experience this morning. Please be assured that our Technical team are working hard to resolve this and ensure it doesn't happen again in future.


      Online Content Producer

  9. janet lyon responded on 15 January 2013 at 1:39pm Reply

    started phoning for don carlo at exactly after trying for 1 hour with the line being constantly engaged i gave up & asked my nephew to try for me on line he had a turgid time trying to get me a ticket by the timehe had typed in all my details the ticket had gone he tried for well over 1 hour he did eventually did get me a ticket & of course i am pleased but you certainly don,t make it easy for people

  10. Anne responded on 15 January 2013 at 2:09pm Reply

    Booking process seemed erratic this morning. First basket was lost when trying to pay -amount payable suddenly changed and did not agree (and "no" i did not have two baskets open). Rebooked some tickets and put in basket but later was told my basket was empty, then they mysteriously appeared again. I ended up buying each event separately to avoid further losses! At least you can continue to shop after each purchase now!

  11. Alison Penfold responded on 15 January 2013 at 2:24pm Reply

    Dear Chris

    It's all very well to talk about ensuring it doesn't happen again, but the damage is already done. I had the same problem as Stephen above, and also another one of my booking runs was cancelled because the numbers didn't add up, so I've lost those tickets completely - they didn't reappear on the website after cancellation, so I suppose some other lucky person has got them now. There are no equivalent tickets left, so I'm going to have to be dependent on there being some cheap returns nearer the time. This really is unacceptable.

  12. Well, this time even my patience ran out! poorest performance in all the years of booking. Basket wouldn't update and it didn't let me checkout, i had to let it run out of time and try again, etc it even kept changing back to old content in the basket at times. I miss the waiting room :-( And this is not good performance considering it's the 4th or even 5th booking on the new system and it still has all these bugs. Seat plan updates fairly quickly, but no the basket, which messes up your purchase. The people who wrote the code for the basket updates and checkout have some explaining to do. Thoroughly annoyed and disappointed as until now the ROH has been the best of my experience in sales, but not with the new system :-(

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 15 January 2013 at 4:47pm

      Thank you for your comments. Really sorry to hear about your experiences this morning. Please be assured that we are working hard to resolve this issue quickly to ensure it won't repeat in future.

      Apologies and thank you for your patience.

      Online Content Producer

  13. regular visitor responded on 15 January 2013 at 10:00pm Reply

    The new website is very complicated and non-intuitive. Far too much "clutter". It is not at all obvious how to find what one wishes to find. What a mess!

  14. IreneBrough responded on 16 January 2013 at 12:53am Reply

    Dear Brits - I know all your experiences must seem frustrating at the time, but have heart - you could be living in Canada, where we have nothing that even compares with the ROH or it's wonderful productions. I just stayed for three years in the UK and enjoyed every visit. I always tell my Canadian friends that the sight of the beautiful curtain is worth the prive of admission. - Sincerely, Irene Brough

  15. Alexander Jacoby responded on 16 January 2013 at 2:34pm Reply

    So there I was at ten o'clock yesterday, sitting in front of my computer, waiting to pounce. In I went and seized a nice reasonably priced central seat in the gods for both Don Carlo and Donna del Lago. Phew, thought I, 27 minutes remaining, just time to add Magic Flute and Gloriana before I check out. And so I did. 23 minutes remaining. I clicked upon the Proceed to Checkout button. I was asked to log in. And dammit if I hadn't forgotten my password. Ah well, thought I, I can reset it... And I did... 19 minutes remaining. And when I entered the new login details the contents of my basket vanished like Jonas Kauffman from a production of Les Troyens. My mouth hung open. My eyes became moist with tears. With anxiety equal to that of Jenufa wondering where she put her baby I raced back to the booking page. Now Don Carlo was sold out entirely of all tickets under a hundred quid on the two days I was able to go! With ein holle Rache koching in meinem Herzen, I resentfully booked equally expensive and less central / frontal seats to the ones I had had before for Donna and Flute. Then I glanced back with the nostalgia of Prince Gremin remembering his youth at the Don Carlo page - and behold, a fairly cheap, not unreasonably situated seat had slipped back into contention! With the joy of the lovers reunited at the end of Cosi fan Tutte (ie, relieved, but still kind of annoyed), I seized upon it. Then I grabbed a seat for Gloriana, paid, and the thing was done.

    Please don't let this happen again!

  16. RichM responded on 17 January 2013 at 8:16pm Reply

    I tried a two-pronged approach to bookings tickets on Tuesday - I joined the 100m long queue in Covent Garden at 0930 and we were all offered complimentary tea and coffee by ROH staff, which is certainly a lovely gesture particularly considering the cold conditions.

    Doors opened at 10am and once inside the ROH itself at 10.10am we were handed freshly printed pieces of paper detailing each show's remaining tickets by performance, which was changing all the time - on average around half of the tickets had sold within the first 10 minutes (and with an hour of waiting to get to the front still ahead!). Seeing this I tried ringing the box office, which was just yards away but got the engaged tone. I then used my smart phone to try through the website and I was astonished to successfully get a pair of tickets at 10.30am in the seats and performance time I wanted. I then left the queue, about 10 people from the front and received my confirmation email an hour later.

    So I can say that out of my three approaches that the website was the winner, then being there in person (not least for the queue conversation and coffee!) and then it was the phone, which was constantly engaged.)

    Really looking forward to the show!

  17. Jill taunton responded on 17 January 2013 at 10:23pm Reply

    I discovered about the box office for the new season one day later and then was unable to access the events I wanted. What has happened to your website ? It is not customer friendly. I have not booked ,as it is too frustrating to find the new season's programme easily. I will try again when I have more time . It was so much better last time Jill Taunton

  18. Tanuj Kumar responded on 24 January 2013 at 4:14pm Reply

    I'd be grateful if someone can inform me when and how I can book for the student-dedicated performance of Die Zauberflöte.

  19. sarah hatton responded on 14 February 2013 at 9:52am Reply

    As a supporting friend. of ROH I am wondering why.
    after an absolute nightmare trying to book for rehearsal of Don Carlos on line at 10am on first day of booking almost all seats had already gone. I did eventually get a seat. Probably the worst seat I have ever had for a rehearsal. I would like to know who all these people are that get ahead of me in the queue?
    Sometimes I wonder why I bother to pay quite a bit extra to be a supporting friend when I am treated so badly. Often when I attend these rehearsals I sit next to someone who has been given a complimentary ticket looks bored and usually leaves after the first interval.

    • Rachel Edmunds (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 14 February 2013 at 12:18pm

      We are sorry to hear that your booking experience was frustrating. Tickets for rehearsals are always under heavy demand and Don Carlo is particularly popular with hundreds of Supporting Friends booking at the same time. For further information about how rehearsal tickets are distributed please sign in to your ROH account where we have recently updated the information about rehearsals

  20. david responded on 19 February 2013 at 9:35pm Reply

    I have commented before. . . for those of us 5000 miles away we need to have two pieces of advance info 6 months in advance of visits to London (a) what is on and (b) when. This is important for airline/hotel bookings. Please try to provide this basic info.

  21. Gerald Smith responded on 6 March 2013 at 10:49am Reply

    Rubbish website. Booking online is always an obstacle course.

    This time, I can't find Friends booking dates on the site. Very confusing info in About the House, too - I understood from your confusing text that Friends booking opened yesterday.

    You really do need a wake-up call. I'm thinking of deFriending you after 10 years - tired of dealing with appalling time-wasters. Arrogant and smug, too, for some unfathomable reason.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 6 March 2013 at 3:08pm

      Hi Gerald,

      Sorry to hear you've experienced issues using the site.

      Friends package booking is now open by telephone to the Box Office. For individual ballet performances, booking opens on 12 March and for individual opera performances, on 13 March. The booking dates are all listed on My ROH which is visible when signed in with email and password and by clicking on your name at the top right hand side of the screen. Should you have any questions at any time the Friends Office will be happy to help: +44 (0)20 7212 9268.


      Digital Content Producer

  22. Abigail Llaro Ponce responded on 8 May 2013 at 9:53pm Reply

    Im peruvian and Im trying to enter to the school but I can`t find something to help me , please I really want it , help me!!!

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