26 January 2015 at 5.00pm | 10 Comments
Andrée Hornby, 78
Retired set and costume designer. Saw Ceremony of Innocence/The Age of Anxiety/Aeternum.
‘I was first brought to the Royal Opera House by my godmother on my ninth birthday, when we saw The Sleeping Beauty designed by Oliver Messel. Afterwards I told my godmother that when I grew up I wanted to be either a ballet dancer, or a designer. I eventually trained as a set and costume designer at the Central School and, one night, my tutor met Oliver Messel at a party. He was looking for someone to paint some costumes for him and my tutor recommended me. I worked with Oliver Messel several times after that. I always sit in the Orchestra Stalls and much prefer it now it’s on a rake. The last ballet I saw was Ceremony of Innocence/The Age of Anxiety/Aeternum – I really enjoyed Aeternum. I try and come and see most ballets here.’
Amy Hudson, 10
Schoolgirl, attended Schools’ Matinee of Ceremony of Innocence/The Age of Anxiety/Aeternum
‘This is my first time at the Royal Opera House and I’m really enjoying it. I like everything about the ballet, but I really enjoy watching the dancers doing their lifts. I love the scenery for The Age of Anxiety as well. I can’t wait to come back again with my school.’
‘I like to sit in K15 as it’s really in the middle of the auditorium, so I can see the whole stage. It’s the perfect place to check on the lighting and the scenery and – being so close to the orchestra pit – the orchestra too. It’s also close enough to the stage that I can run on if I’m needed during rehearsals.’
Dr Anthony Pike, her late brother, has his name on a plaque on K15
‘I like to think of him sitting there still, watching everything. He loved classical ballet: the history, the skill, the music, the theatre, the beauty of it. He wanted to contribute to the Royal Opera House so, on his death in 2009, a portion of his estate went towards pointe shoes for Royal Ballet dancers and also on a seat plaque in the auditorium. When I come now, it’s not always to sit in K15, but I love to be able to remember him coming here and imagine him sitting there.’
Claire Dissaux, 42
Premium 1 Friend, saw Ceremony of Innocence/The Age of Anxiety/Aeternum
‘I like seat K15 as it is close enough to the stage and close to the centre too. Attending rehearsals or a Sitzprobe has helped me understand opera better and a backstage tour has made me more familiar with the work of the Royal Opera House, as did the Queen’s Jubilee Gala. I have fond memories of many productions, particularly DGV: Danse à grande vitesse, not only for the star performers (Natalia Osipova, Marianela Nuñez, Edward Watson…) but also for the choreography by Christopher Wheeldon – I wish I could see it again. Dialogues des Carmélites left me speechless; it was beautiful singing and the austere staging was perfectly appropriate. The last scene in particular was so contained and yet so heartbreaking. I remember meeting a perfect stranger in the hall who felt the urge to tell me how moved she was. It seems I come to see Tosca every year now… there is always a reason. In 2014 it was to hear Roberto Alagna and I was not disappointed.’
This article was originally published in the Royal Opera House Magazine, received quarterly by the Friends of Covent Garden.