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Christmas at Covent Garden: 300 years of Christmas Shows at one of London's Great Theatres Sarah Lenton Tuesday 04 December 2018

4th December 2018

‘Christmas at Covent Garden: 300 years of Christmas Shows at one of London’s Great Theatres’ - Sarah Lenton

The London Christmas season was invented at Covent Garden. The first theatre on the site was the home of Harlequin and Columbine and 300 years later on Harlequin and Columbine are still dancing in ‘The Nutcracker’.  Most of what we now consider to be quintessential Pantomime – principal boy, fairy tales, transformation scenes and the dame, can be traced back to the operas and ballets put on at Convent Garden during its first 200 years.  

Panto has moved on to the Palladium, but you can see its basic components in the seasonal operas and ballets the royal Opera House puts on every year: Rossini’s ‘Cenerentola’ (Cinderella) for example or Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or Ashton’s ‘Cinderella’.  The repertoire changes every year and this lecture is updated to include current ROH Christmas offerings.

Sarah Lenton has spent her working life in the theatre, principally at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and English National Opera. She writes programme articles and websites, she gives lectures on the operas and ballets in the rep. and does live opera broadcasts and podcasts for BBC Radios 3 and 4. She has written and directed many shows, including more than 20 for the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre and for Glyndebourne Touring Opera. She is also a cartoonist.