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Geoff

The "new" Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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its very beige - they looking to sell up soon or something?  😉

 

saying that, generally like the new layout, with a couple of provisos. After all that refit (especially the shop area), why did they hang out to that dreadful revolving door at the piazza entrance? Also, looks like you have to go on a bit of a mission to pop to the facilities if attending a performance in the Linbury. Which looks lovely, but those stairways look as much of a bottleneck as ever they were previously. So unless you're suitably positioned at the periphery, staying put at the interval going to be plan 'a'. Don't think much of the standing places either. NO ticket office? What madness is this? And not sure the staff canteen look inside the main entrance is a good one either. The Amphi bar area looks terrific though, even if I'm losing 'our spot' as a result. I'm sure we'll find another 🙂

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Well, on a first viewing I have very mixed feelings about the redevelopment.  More later when I have time, I guess.

 

Is the ticket office going to carry on being stuck on the corner of Russell Street, or have I missed something?  Perhaps ticket sales, and knowledgeable staff, are deemed less important than a shop and café?

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I haven’t been in yet but my understanding is that there will be a flexible unit that will be both the box office and cloakroom (ie more box office desks available during the day and more cloakroom space during shows):

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Presumably the bit which looks as though it also "flexes" into the café, then.

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I saw the reference to the absence of a box office in today's links from the Metropolis and wondered what it might mean:

 

'A box office is conspicuously absent - roaming ticket vendors will occupy the space instead.'

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1 hour ago, zxDaveM said:

its very beige - they looking to sell up soon or something?  😉

 

saying that, generally like the new layout, with a couple of provisos. After all that refit (especially the shop area), why did they hang out to that dreadful revolving door at the piazza entrance? Also, looks like you have to go on a bit of a mission to pop to the facilities if attending a performance in the Linbury. Which looks lovely, but those stairways look as much of a bottleneck as ever they were previously. So unless you're suitably positioned at the periphery, staying put at the interval going to be plan 'a'. Don't think much of the standing places either. NO ticket office? What madness is this? And not sure the staff canteen look inside the main entrance is a good one either. The Amphi bar area looks terrific though, even if I'm losing 'our spot' as a result. I'm sure we'll find another 🙂

 

I had a look round the new facilities this morning, including the ladies loos in the Linbury. There shouldn’t be much queuing for them as there are masses of them and self flushing! Gave me quite a shock. A lovely exhibition on Swan Lake with photos from the Fonteyn and Somes up to the latest production and includes some of SWRB I’m pleased to see. Interesting watching the Faces film in the Linbury. The three dancers featured looked like paintings before they began to move. Apparently they haven’t quite finished the Linbury yet one of the guides showing people around said. Overall very impressed though.

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3 minutes ago, Pulcinella said:

 

I had a look round the new facilities this morning, including the ladies loos in the Linbury. There shouldn’t be much queuing for them as there are masses of them and self flushing! 

 

Unfortunately those ladies' loos are not just for the Linbury.  They're also for the patrons attending ballet and opera in the main auditorium.   Unless they somehow manage to stagger the intervals,  the queues are likely to be horrendous!

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56 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

I haven’t been in yet but my understanding is that there will be a flexible unit that will be both the box office and cloakroom (ie more box office desks available during the day and more cloakroom space during shows):

 

The box office assistants I've spoken to don't seem to have been given this information.  They were under the impression that the location of the box office in the main building has  yet to be decided.  They weren't even certain that there would eventually be a box office there.

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22 minutes ago, Bluebird said:

The box office assistants I've spoken to don't seem to have been given this information.  They were under the impression that the location of the box office in the main building has  yet to be decided.  They weren't even certain that there would eventually be a box office there.

 

A piece in the links today talks of "roaming ticket vendors" in the new foyer.

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What is a roaming ticket vendor?  Is it a sort of stop-me-and-buy-one or another word for touts?  Seems a very strange idea.  I always liked the original box office which had an air of quiet dignity about it.  

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You know those trays with straps that go round the neck that ushers use for selling ice creams in the interval? (do they still, or has the strap been dropped on health and safety grounds?  Now I come to think of it, I keep seeing them with those fold-out stands to put the trays on).  They're going to wander round the tables with a selection of tickets they haven't managed to sell yet and see if they can find a home for them.

 

:D 

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BTW, I only stuck my head briefly into the Shop, but were there any dance and opera magazines there?  I didn't notice any signs of them.

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Okay, some random thoughts, based on a couple of brief visits today:

 

I don't suppose anyone will be particularly surprised at this, given various related comments higher up in this thread and elsewhere, but I noticed that the price of the cakes has been increased by about 1/3 since last season.  (Getting my priorities right here, you notice :) )  It looks to be the same caterers as previously.

 

The Piazza revolving doors are still there, although apparently not working automatically as yet.  The concept of the former box office area as a link between Bow Street and the Piazza appears to have been abandoned, with the doors where the former Bow Street revolving door was now seemingly being only an emergency exit, and the entrance doors being rather further along.  So I wouldn't be able to use it as much of a short cut any more, if I were still working in the area.

 

Well, the Linbury Theatre looks very swish and new, and I hope all the wood will indeed improve the acoustic.  As others have mentioned, I'm not convinced that the new design will improve the traffic flow in and out, but we'll have to wait and see about that.  I'm also not convinced that the legroom has been significantly improved in problematic areas.  Sightlines from the slips seem pretty poor - as they are for the standing places behind them, of which I think there are 7 on either side.  They may be bearable for a relatively static opera, but I think they'll be extremely frustrating for watching dance.  There are another 7 central behind the seats of one tier, which I trust will be fine view-wise.  The bottom part of the theatre was roped off, so I acouldn't say whether there are any more standing places down there.  Is the theatre still designed to be flexible?  Would they, for example, still be able to run things like Hansel & Gretel and Metamorphosis down there?  I wasn't clear about this.

 

The amphi bar area has a pale beige? grey? (can't tell too well) carpet.  I trust it's been heavily dirt/stain-proofed, because it seems a rather odd colour to choose for an area of such heavy footfall.  The amphi terrace now has big (heavy) glazed doors rather than the previous revolving door, which was introduced because of complaints about the draught.  Presumably something has been done to mitigate that, or we may end up with another revolving door again.  If you turn to the left, virtually the whole of that length up to the end facing Tuttons - i.e. extended from previously - is now glassed in as the bar/restaurant - except a small section at the end through glass doors, which is presumably available to non-diners, except that you'd have to walk through the restaurant to get at it - and not mind being exposed to the elements when it rains.  The other "leg" of the terrace has I think also been extended: half of it is now a bar with stools and counters, and only beyond that can you go and sit freely and get some fresh air, not to mention whatever precipitation is going, because there is still no covering between the edge of the building and the roof over the terrace, and it's not currently possible to avoid walking in the exposed area.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Rob S said:

 

At least some of these titles and more are available in the shop.....and if you go right this second Vadim is on display in Floral Street (probably on his lunch break) 🙂

 

Thanks, Rob! Unfortunately I live in the U.S. so I have to rely on the online ship most of the times I'd like to get a DVD of Royal Ballet. Fortunately I had just ordered most of those from the online shop the day before the new version went live, but I do wonder if ROH has decided to remove them from the online shop permanently 🤔

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Went there yesterday  and liked it a lot because, to me, it did feel 'open'. So what if it does look a bit like the Hilton Hotel? The colour palette is light and does not scream expense/exclusivity at one.

 

The staff, including Alex Beard, were welcoming (no bag checks), visitors were free to wander through all the 'new' areas (there was a rehearsal in the auditorium) and all the enlarged socialising and eating areas looked good (not altogether sure about the refectory style tables in the foyer, though). Members of the public were snacking/dining alongside opera patrons - great stuff!

 

The new Linbury looks smart and, yes, the seats are more comfortable. However, there are sightline issues at the highest level (guardrail) and in the 'stalls', which are barely raked. Moreover, the access problems of yore (very narrow stairs and a lift on one side only) may remain. The little clips on Acosta, Cojocaru and Yanowsky on continuous play  gave the place some necessary life.

 

So, a promising start with an Open London weekend and lots of people wanting to come in out of the rain.......... Next week, we will see how it all pans out when The Ring is on and there are Insights in the Clore (which wasn't open to view yesterday).

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5 hours ago, capybara said:

The new Linbury looks smart and, yes, the seats are more comfortable. However, there are sightline issues at the highest level (guardrail) and in the 'stalls', which are barely raked.

 

Would that be affected by the seating flexibility mentioned in the Guardian article?  At https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/sep/19/royal-opera-house-linbury-theatre-open-up-stanton-williams it says : The seating can be raked in a steep configuration for ballet, or shallow for opera, or disappear completely at the touch of a button, while a state-of-the-art electro-acoustic system allows the reverberation time to be finely tuned according to what kind of production is being staged. 

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44 minutes ago, Yaffa said:

 

Would that be affected by the seating flexibility mentioned in the Guardian article?  At https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/sep/19/royal-opera-house-linbury-theatre-open-up-stanton-williams it says : 

 

Ah, that's helpful. Thanks.

We weren't allowed down into the stalls area as it wasn't finished; but it was clear that there was scope for a moving floor, perhaps arena-style as well.

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On 21/09/2018 at 14:28, Fonty said:

Regarding allowing non ticket holders into the building during the day, broadly speaking I have no problem with this.  There have been times when I have wanted to linger over the photos or costume exhibitions, but haven't had the time during a performance after queueing for the loos.   I like the idea of being able to wander in during the day, and just soak up the atmosphere of a beautiful building.  Not sure about the increased restaurant space.  I would imagine that the number of people not attending a performance who want to eat rather indifferent food at vastly inflated prices would be quite small.

 

But I assume they will not be allowed in to the building in the evenings?  Seating is in extremely short supply, I don't want to see it taken up by people who have popped in to pick up their email!

 

 

 

 


Um, not that I would do anything like that, heaven forbid... but I'd be interested to know what the power outlets and wifi are like in the new 'open' areas. 

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Can't say I noticed any power outlets, but then I wasn't looking for any.  I'm not sure where you'd put any: certainly not at the tables.  I forgot to try out the wifi, but I assume it's much the same as it ever was - reception in the old box office area was usually okay.

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On 22/09/2018 at 19:53, JohnS said:

'A box office is conspicuously absent - roaming ticket vendors will occupy the space instead.'

 

Does any one know what the queuing etiquette might be for a roaming box office?   Or does the queue also roam?

 

I'm sure all will be well but I can't help wondering if Alice and one or two of her friends might be escaping from stored productions.

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Etiquette:

 

First identify roaming box office person.  (this may be tricky unless they have a roaming desk with them)

Next ask if there are any tickets for tonight.  They will gesture at the crowds and raise their eyes in a 'what do you think' gesture

You can move on to enquiries for next season but someone will ring the bell at that point and the roaming box office will disappear like magic.

Buy a drink instead!

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On 22/09/2018 at 19:53, JohnS said:

I saw the reference to the absence of a box office in today's links from the Metropolis and wondered what it might mean:

 

'A box office is conspicuously absent - roaming ticket vendors will occupy the space instead.'

 

Oh, dear; oh, dear:  For health and safety reasons let's just pray they are not (assuming they are in civilian dress) mistaken for ticket touts and arrested.  Of course, with cuts to the constabulary that may not be too much of a practical concern.  :) 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Remind me what level of security alert is London on at present? I hate to pour cold water on all of this democratisation, accessibility and openess as I am sure that the Opera House is not at all motivated by the desire to increase the earning power of every square metre of the building. But as someone who has had to access a large number of other public buildings, identified by the powers that be, as  high risk sites I can't help thinking that it is going to be very interesting, to say the least, to see just how the Opera House is going to strike the right balance between security for those using the building for the purpose for which it was originally built and giving access to the general public. Perhaps it is not going to bother.

Edited by FLOSS
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10 hours ago, alison said:

Can't say I noticed any power outlets, but then I wasn't looking for any.  I'm not sure where you'd put any: certainly not at the tables.

Thank heavens for that at least!

 I don't really want to go for my special night out and be surrounded by people doing their homework, watching films and skyping etc.

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35 minutes ago, Mary said:

Thank heavens for that at least!

 I don't really want to go for my special night out and be surrounded by people doing their homework, watching films and skyping etc.

 

Pretty sure the "main theatre" part of the building will not be open to non-ticket-holders during a show.

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No doubt we'll find out today with the opening of Rheingold but I was told by an usher that ticket checks would be performed at each entrance to the auditorium.

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It's occurred to me, after a total of 3 trips to the place, that -- barring the new Linbury season - I didn't really see any literature around anywhere.  If part of the idea is to encourage people actually to try a performance, why not put something handy that they can take away with them so that they can think about it?  I suppose they don't want all that nasty paper cluttering up the place?  Otherwise, surely what will happen is largely that people will come in and make use of the facilities, make the café a nice earner, listen to the free concerts, but not actually take that last step?

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