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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday March 09 2015

Just before Christmas, Goddaughter 2 arranged for the two of us to see and hear a dress rehearsal of a Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.  This was, for all practical purposes, a performance.  I didn’t much care for Verdi before I went to this event, and I still don’t, but the show was at least notable for the outstanding singing of the lead tenor, Joseph Calleja, a new name to me.  I was extremely happy whenever he was singing.  (He has a blog.) The rest of the show I found somewhat forgettable, mainly because Verdi seems to have been opposed to doing nice tunes that you can remember, unlike my operatic composer favourites, Mozart, Puccini, and Richard Strauss.

But very memorable indeed, almost as good as Calleja’s singing, was the bar we visited afterwards, which is right next to the main performing space.

From the outside the opera house and the bar look like this:

image

The bar being the thing on the left as we look there.

And on the inside, the bar looks like this:

image

The ROH refers to this place as the Paul Hamlyn Hall.  What regular people call it for real I have no idea, but I like it.

I especially like that disembodied clutch of drinkers, suspended up there as if in mid air, but actually in mid mirror.

Here is a closer look at that same feature:

image

I know exactly what is going on here, and how this weird effect is achieved, but still I’m impressed.

A bit of hasty googling has failed to tell me what this place used to be and when it was first built.  I’m guessing it was at first something to do with selling fruit and/or veg, but that’s only a guess.  Anyone?

Flowers. ;)

The Paul Hamlyn Hall is a large iron and glass structure adjacent to, and with direct access to, the main opera house building.

** Historically, it formed part of the old Covent Garden flower market, and is still commonly known as the ‘floral hall’, but it was absorbed into the Royal Opera House complex during the 1990s redevelopment. **

The hall now acts as the atrium and main public area of the opera house, with a champagne bar, restaurant and other hospitality services, and also providing access to the main auditorium at all levels.

The redevelopment of the Floral Hall was originally made possible with a pledge of £10m from the philanthropist Alberto Vilar and for a number of years, it was known as the Vilar Floral Hall; however Vilar failed to make good his pledge. As a result, the name was changed in September 2005 to the Paul Hamlyn Hall, after the opera house received a donation of £10m from the estate of Paul Hamlyn, towards its education and development programmes.

As well as acting as a main public area for performances in the main auditorium, the Paul Hamlyn Hall is also used for hosting a number of events, including private functions, dances, exhibitions, concerts, and workshops.

Posted by 6000 on 10 March 2015

6k

Thanks.

Floral Hall

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 10 March 2015

B_NJp40WkAAvf2N.jpg

Posted by 6k on 10 March 2015
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