Sunday, February 25, 2024

Royal Opera House


My destination in Covent Garden was to see the Royal Opera House.  I have a very close friend who has a PhD in Collaborative Piano.  He works very closely with opera performers and he has a vast knowledge of all operas and composers.  He studied in London for awhile and spent a lot of time at the Royal Opera House so I wanted to get a closer look. 

I was a little confused when I saw this modern entrance because it looked nothing like I remembered.  I went inside to find an open atrium with champagne bar, a restaurant and a gift shop.  There were also a number of displays all around the area.

There were several glass cases with costumes from the ballet "Manon" by Georgiadis.  I was curious as to when this performance took place and was surprised to find that it's playing right now.

There was a walkway that led into the main part of the opera house and along the wall was this display of some history of the building.  Each of those little 'windows' in the wall were displays of the inside of the opera house over the years.

Above is one of those little displays.

This bust was mounted on the lobby wall.  It is a tribute to Sir Thomas Beecham who was a conductor associated with both the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic.  

After exploring all the wonderful displays inside the building, I was back outside in front of the building I remembered from past visits.  This is the third opera house that has stood on this site.  The first two were both destroyed by fires.  This building with its wonderful corinthian columns has the look of a classic concert hall and opera house.  The atrium part to the far left was once a flower market and is now part of the hall serving food, drink and lots and lots of historical information.  

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Night Visit to Covent Garden


One evening when I was in London, I took an after dinner stroll around Covent Garden.  I was surprised at how quiet it was.  On past trips to this part of London it has always been a busy place.  However, the lack of huge crowds made it easier to snap a few photos. 

It was mid-October but it looks like they are in the process of putting up the holiday decorations.

I loved the sign above the entrance at the far end of this photo.  It's for the Punch & Judy pub just on the other side of the doorway.  Apparently it's a tourist pub that has been there for a very long time.

There was a musician playing in front of St. Pauls Church and I stopped to listen along with all these other people.  A short stop for some very good live entertainment was nice treat.  

I snapped this photo along the side of St. Pauls church.  The statue was brilliantly lit but the area was closed off for construction.

I discovered that this statue was originally commissioned by the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral.  It sat on display near the cathedral for 3 months and then was moved to his location at St. Pauls Church.

It was created by Bruce Denny and depicts. St. Paul the moment when he is struck by the light on the road to Damascus.  That must explain why such a bright light is shining on this statue.  It's called "The Conversion of St. Paul".

Next week, I'll show you my destination on this trip to Covent Garden.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Land of Spies and Politicians


Further along on my walk along the Thames, I came to this building known as Thames House.  It happens to be the headquarters for MI 5, the English security services.  This building is not as eclectic as the MI 6 building that I pictured last week.  This one is much more traditional.

This building is located right at the corner of Millbank and Lambeth where the Lambeth bridge crosses the Thames.  There is a round-about there and in the center is this very full palm tree.  There are not many palm trees to be found in London so this one sort of stands out.

On my previous trip in 2016, I must have been surprised to see this tree sitting in the middle of the road because I snapped this photo of it back then.

After passing the MI 5 building, I've almost arrived at the Houses of Parliament.  The park along the river is called Victoria Tower Gardens that is where I found this famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin.  "The Burghers of Calais" is one of his many famous sculptures.

I've made my way from the Tate Britain museum all the way up to the Houses of Parliament.  Before I move on, I can't resist a photo of Big Ben.  

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Walking Along the River


Stepping out of the Tate Britain Museum in London, I am facing the River Thames where I decide to walk so I can take in the view.  Walking along Millbank road between Pimlico and Westminster, will take me past an assortment of government buildings all the way to the Houses of Parliament.  While I'm walking, I can admire the growth of all the buildings across the river.

If I look to the left in this photo, I can see the MI6 headquarters tucked into the far left of this photo.  I did a post about that building back in 2017.  See it here.  Next to the MI6 building is St. George Wharf an interesting luxury building with flats and office and retail space.  There were definitely more buildings squeezed into this space since I was last in London.

As I walked along, I was in awe of all the new buildings that have been built along the river.  Like many big cities, London is growing and growing.