London’s iconic Royal Opera House has closed with immediate effect, due to the impact of coronavirus.
Following earlier government guidance for Londoners to avoid all-but-essential contact with others, the 2,000 capacity Covent Garden venue issued the following statement:
“The safety and security of the Royal Opera House staff, audiences and artists is of paramount importance and we take this responsibility very seriously. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision with a heavy heart to close the building to the public and cancel all performances in Covent Garden with immediate effect.
The staff and artists of the ROH are vital to the lifeblood of our art forms, without them we would simply not exist. This suspension of performances will impact not only our loyal audience but also our committed and talented workforce. We will work within the government guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and artists during this difficult time.
Our employees, permanent and casual, are reliant on the income which we derive through ticket purchases. Without performances, it is inevitable that we will become more reliant on philanthropic support and charitable donations.
We will be in contact with all ticket buyers in due course. Where possible, we ask that you consider donating the value of your tickets to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation rather than requesting a credit note or refund.
Please note that upcoming cinema screenings are also cancelled. If you have booked for a screening, please contact your local cinema.
You can keep up to date via the ROH social media channels for announcements on a programme of free broadcasts we will bring you during this period of closure.
We thank you for your continued support of the ROH, it is invaluable during these uncertain times.”
It’s one of the hundreds of London venues expected to close following today’s updates. The site dates back to 1732, and the current auditorium, which is a Grade I listed building, since 1858. [Header photo: Royal Opera House]
(See a bigger list of London venue closures here.)
In other news: London’s mayoral elections have been postponed until 2021.
Also published on Medium.