Antonio Pappano in rehearsal for Samson et Dalila, The Royal Opera ©Camilla Greenwell, 2022
Antonio Pappano in rehearsal for Samson et Dalila, The Royal Opera ©Camilla Greenwell, 2022

The Royal Opera House celebrates the Coronation of King Charles III

Check this news post for everything the Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera are doing to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III.

ByVicky Kington (Head of Communications)
Friday 5 May 2023, 9am

The Royal Opera House are proud of be a part of the celebrations of the Coronation of King Charles III.

Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the Coronation Orchestra in the ceremony at Westminster Abbey

Twenty years into his tenure as Music Director of the Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano was thrilled to be invited to conduct the Coronation Orchestra at Westminster Abbey. Looking ahead to the joyful, warm and atmospheric musical service on Saturday 6th May, Tony said: “The Coronation is an iconic moment in our nation’s history and provides a unique platform to showcase extraordinary music to the world. To be invited to conduct this unrivalled new orchestra is an absolute honour. It is a privilege to contribute to the musical splendour of the Coronation, and to conduct leading players from the world’s best orchestras is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one of the most significant moments of my career.”

King Charles, a life-long music enthusiast and champion of the arts, has personally overseen the musical programming and the new commission of pieces. Tony Pappano will be conducting a repertoire that celebrates the UK’s rich musical history and which showcases the very best talent from the UK and across the globe – all of it chosen personally by The King.

Eight orchestras will be represented in the membership of the Coronation Orchestra, playing wide-ranging new musical commissions which offer contemporary interpretations of centuries of musical tradition, bringing together world-class composers. The music programme blends tradition and modernity, with five of the twelve new commissions by leading female composers.

Tony said: “His Majesty’s contribution to British cultural life has been an inspiration to many and of great significance across the UK and beyond. He has encouraged so many diverse communities to realise their creative potential and explore new musical endeavours and collaborations.  The musical programme for the Coronation encompasses all of these values, ensuring the Westminster Abbey service is reflective of the Commonwealth as it brings such extraordinary talent to this unrivalled event.”

Working with friend and long-term collaborator Vasko Vassilev, Leader of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House for the past thirty years, Tony is delighted to also be working alongside Andrew Nethsingha, Westminster Abbey’s Organist and Choirmaster (conducting the Abbey Choir) and Wing Commander Piers Morrell who will conduct the Royal Air Force Fanfare Team.  Royal Opera House collaborator and British conductor and accompanist Paul Wynne Griffiths will support Tony at Westminster Abbey as assistant conductor and second conductor.

The Coronation Concert

As part of the Coronation Concert – which is being held in the grounds of Windsor Castle on the evening of Sunday 7 May 2023 – The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal College of Music and The Royal College of Art will come together for the first time ever to create a spectacular one-off performance featuring Ncuti Gatwa. Based around themes of love and togetherness, the piece will combine music, dance, art and theatre in what will be the ultimate Royal collaboration.

At the centre of the show, The Royal Shakespeare Company will perform excerpts from a Shakespeare play, featuring Ncuti Gatwa alongside Mei Mac, Oliver Award nominee for My Neighbour Totoro. The Royal patronages will perform a beautiful arrangement of a classic song from West Side Story. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this unique choral arrangement will be performed by the Royal Opera Chorus. Principal dancers of The Royal Ballet Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, will also perform a bespoke piece of choreography for the occasion.

The visual backdrop projected on to Windsor Castle and the stage will showcase artworks by students from The Royal College of Art. Alongside the other performers, a string quartet of four Royal College of Music students will perform as soloists: Betania Johnny and Katherine Young on violin, Declan Wicks on viola and Marion Portelance on cello, who will be playing His Majesty's cello, which is currently kept by The Royal College of Music. 

We have been celebrating the Coronation in our local community

The Royal Opera House are pleased to announce their latest reuse project at local school, St Clements Danes CofE Primary School in Covent Garden.  

The Royal Opera House costume and props department donated bags of fabric left over from costumes that have graced the Royal Opera House Stage. The workshop gave the schoolchildren the opportunity to work alongside members of the costume department and learn how to cut patterns, design individual pieces and create unique Coronation bunting. The unused pieces of fabric were cut to shape with each child designing their own letter, with the bunting spelling out ‘King Charles Coronation 2023’.  

The Coronation bunting will be on display at St Clements Danes CofE Primary School as part of their celebrations to mark the Kings Coronation. The Royal Opera House will also display bunting created by the pupils across the Coronation weekend.  

You can also celebrate the Coronation in style with a raft of Royal experiences at the Royal Opera House this May.

Coronation Tour

Go behind the scenes to experience the past as you step into the Royal Retiring Room, take a seat in the Royal Box and discover the little-known King's Smoking Room designed for King Edward VII. This exclusive behind the scenes tour also includes a limited-edition Coronation-themed goody bag featuring luxury products including a red velvet curtain mug and leather-bound notebook, among other royal treats.

Coronation treats in our restaurants, bars and café

Our ground-floor Café will be serving Coronation themed sweet treats including macarons, biscuits and crown-shaped cookies, perfect for little ones, with prices starting from just £3. The Royal Opera House Terrace Bar, with stunning views overlooking Covent Garden Piazza, will be serving Coronation cocktails featuring the bespoke ROH x Portobello Road Gin and the British summer classic, Pimms, as well as delicious servings of strawberries and cream. 

Celebrate the Coronation on May 4 and join gin expert Jake Burger, as he showcases his selection of the perfect Royal gin cocktails in the ROH shop. Join Jake (founder and co-owner of Portobello Gin) in store at our Covent Garden home from 4-7.30pm, and find out everything you wanted to know about how to make the very best gin cocktail. You can purchase the bespoke ROH x Portobello Road Gin online and in store from the ROH shop. 

Shop royal products at the Royal Opera House

For anyone looking to take home a physical souvenir to commemorate the Coronation, look no further than the ROH Shop (instore and online). The shop presents an incredible collection of Royal Opera House Crest products, at all price points: pencils, notebooks, mugs, tea towels, tote bags and even historic prints of the Royal Family at the Royal Opera House. We also have the beautiful Elena Deshmukh collection, created exclusively for us and inspired by the rich architecture and history of the building. This collection includes tote bags, recycled leather notebooks, tea sets and trinket boxes. The Coronation inspired collection is available now. 

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