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19 wondrous opera houses

By: Angela Nelson on Aug. 18, 2016, 6:42 a.m.
Royal Opera House in London

Photo: FA2010/Wikimedia Commons

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Royal Opera House in London

Today's Royal Opera House building is the third to stand on the Covent Garden property since 1732, as the first two buildings were destroyed by fires. The current one, built in 1858, was used as a dance hall during World War II and became home to the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet after the war ended.

Composer George Handel had close ties with this opera house. Many of his operas, including "Alcina" and "Semele," were first performed there, according to their website. And from 1735 until his death in 1759, he gave regular seasonal performances.

In 1997, the opera house underwent an extensive three-year, $229 million renovation intended to carry the two artistic companies who call it home into the 21st century. The theater, with its horseshoe-shaped main auditorium seating 2,256 people, now claims to be the most modern one in Europe.