Incredible insight into the Royal Opera House

royal Opera House (2)-w500-h500‘What a huge, logistical operation,’ is the impression that Market Harborough WI members left with this evening after a superb talk by Chloe Miller Smith, daughter of Committee member Annabel Smith.

Chloe joined the Royal Opera House 4 years’ ago following a speculative job application for a part time role when she left university.  From there, she has progressed to a full time project manager’s role, which gives her the unique opportunity to work with both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet.

Chloe was able to outline some of the history of the buildings situated in Covent Garden.  She then regaled us with fascinating snippets of the work of the various departments (1,500 full time staff are employed plus a whole range of part timers), artists’ training, how the various practice rooms are used (the building has 9 floors), performers’ practice schedules (ballet dancers are contracted for a 6 day week, including daily practice and a number of weekly performances), rehearsal schedules, scene changing several times a day and not to mention the licensed armoury!

Chloe brought along some costumes to show us (see picture above).  Both are several years’ old as they are cleaned, refurbished and reused each time a production is performed over the years.  She also brought along several pairs of ballet shoes, describing how the dancers sew on their own ribbons and elastic, as well as bashing them to soften them.  Lead dancers can get through 3 pairs in one performance!  Chloe also had special permission to bring a range of daggers and a sword used in performances.

We watched several, short videos during the talk and these can be seen on U Tube.  You can also check out the comprehensive Royal Opera House website and maybe plan to visit some open sessions: World Ballet DayInsights at the Royal Opera House and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.


Question on the Royal Opera House

ROH ballet-w500-h500What is Chloe Miller Smith’s favourite sight at ROH?  Find out before she comes to speak at our next meeting on 23 March by checking out her quote in this month’s edition of ‘WI Life’, pages 34/35.

Chloe is MHWI member, Annabel Smith’s daughter, who us travelling up specially from London to speak to us.  Sounds like a night not to be missed.

Never seen a ballet? Now’s your chance!

On Saturday 19 December 2015, the Royal Opera House will open its doors for an exclusive performance of The Nutcracker by The Royal Ballet.  Starting at 10am, members will have a unique opportunity to get ‘behind the scenes’ of the Opera House and learn all about the work that goes in to producing a ballet; from costumes preservation, stage make-up to actually meeting the ballet dancers and members of the orchestra.
This special opportunity has been kindly supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust in memory of the late Paul Hamlyn; this trust gives thousands of families who have not previously been to the Royal Opera House the opportunity to enjoy ballet or opera at the famous Covent Garden theatre.  For this reason, it is important to be aware that this offer is only for people who have not been able to experience a performance at the Royal Opera House before – please bear this in mind when registering for tickets.  If members have previously booked tickets for a main stage performance at the Opera House, they will be politely declined access to this event.
This offer will be sent out to all WI’s in this month’s mailing.
We are conscious that the timescale for this event is very short, but we are sure you will agree that this will be a fabulous way to end the year of WI centenary celebrations!

Flyer to follow as soon as we receive further details.  In the meantime, if you are interested, let us know by emailing: