Covent Garden

/kuv"euhnt, kov"-/
1. a district in central London, England, formerly a vegetable and flower market.
2. a theater in this district, first built 1731-32, important in English theatrical history: home of the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet.

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Square in London.

It is now the site of the Royal Opera House, home of the British national opera and ballet companies. The land around the site, once a convent garden, was laid out as a residential square in 1630. The original Covent Garden playhouse, called the Theatre Royal, was built in 1732 and served for performances of plays, pantomimes, and opera. Twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt, the theatre became the Royal Italian Opera House (1847) and was replaced by the Royal Opera Co. (1888). The square was also the site of a fruit, flower, and vegetable market from 1670 to 1974.

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      square in the City of Westminster (Westminster, City of), London. It lies just northwest of the Strand. For more than 300 years it held the principal fruit, flower, and vegetable market of the metropolis. Adjacent to the former market site stands the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), home of Britain's oldest national opera and ballet companies.

      Originally a convent garden owned by the Benedictines of Westminster (Westminster Abbey), the site was developed by the 4th earl of Bedford as the cities of London and Westminster grew together along the north bank of the River Thames. It was laid out in the 1630s as a “piazza,” or residential square (the first of its kind in London), to the design of Inigo Jones (Jones, Inigo). Surrounded on three sides by tall houses with an arcaded street floor, the square was bounded on the west by the low, solemn-porticoed St. Paul's Church.

      Covent Garden Market operated informally for many years before it was established “forever” by Charles II in 1670. It was rebuilt and reorganized in 1830, and in 1974 it moved to a new, more spacious market site south of the River Thames at Nine Elms, Wandsworth. The 19th-century Flower Market Building was refurbished in the early 1980s and now includes a variety of shops and attractions, including the London Transport Museum.

      The Covent Garden Theatre, the original theatre on the site, was opened (1732) by John Rich and served for plays, pantomimes, and opera. During the 1730s, when George Frideric Handel (Handel, George Frideric) was associated with the theatre, opera was emphasized, but later the focus shifted to plays. Managers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries included the noted actors George Colman the Elder (Colman, George, the Elder), John Philip Kemble (Kemble, John Philip), and Charles Kemble (Kemble, Charles). The structure burned in 1808 and was rebuilt in 1809. In 1847 it became the Royal Italian Opera House under the noted conductor Michael Costa and, later, Frederick Gye. The building burned in 1856, and a new building was opened in 1858. The Royal Italian Opera failed in 1884 and was replaced in 1888 by what came to be called the Royal Opera Company under Augustus Harris and, later, Maurice Grau; the repertoire was largely Italian opera.

      The house closed during World War I but reopened in 1919. In 1933–39 the resident company was directed by the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham (Beecham, Sir Thomas, 2nd Baronet). Closed again during World War II, the house reopened in 1946. The Sadler's Wells Ballet (founded 1931; later, the Royal Ballet) moved to the theatre at that time. Postwar musical directors included the conductors Rafael Kubelík (Kubelík, Rafael), Georg Solti (Solti, Sir Georg), Colin Davis (Davis, Sir Colin), and Bernard Haitink (Haitink, Bernard). The building itself, which continues to serve the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, was greatly augmented by a southward extension in the 1980s.

      There are several other theatres in the surrounding district, notably the London Coliseum (Coliseum Theatre) on St. Martin's Lane, which is home to the English National Opera, the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand, and the Drury Lane Theatre.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Covent Garden — …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • COVENT GARDEN — COVENT GARDE Sous le nom de Covent Garden, trois théâtres ont successivement occupé sur Bow Street, à Londres, le même site consacré. Le premier, inauguré le 7 décembre 1742 avec The Way of the World de Congreve, était surtout consacré au théâtre …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Covent Garden — Covent Cov ent (k?v ent), n. [OF. covent, F. couvent. See {Convent}.] A convent or monastery. [Obs.] Bale. [1913 Webster] {Covent Garden}, a large square in London, so called because originally it was the garden of a monastery. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Covent Garden —   [ kɔvənt gɑːdn], Platz im Zentrum Londons, früher der Klostergarten der Westminster Abbey, seit dem 17. Jahrhundert bis 1974 Gemüse , Obst und Blumenhauptmarkt von London; in den ehemaligen Markthallen heute Boutiquen und Cafés; am Platz steht… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Covent Garden — (spr. kóww nt), s. London …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Covent Garden — (spr. köww nt gahrd n), Marktplatz im W. von London, mit Coventgardentheater, Opernhaus …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Covent Garden — (izg. kòvent gárdn) m DEFINICIJA londonsko kazalište, osnovano poč. 18. st., danas stalna državna opera …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Covent Garden — This article is about the London district. For the theatre, see Royal Opera House. Coordinates: 51°30′43″N 0°07′22″W / 51.51197°N 0.1228°W / …   Wikipedia

  • Covent Garden — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Covent Garden (homonymie). Covent Garden L intérieur de l ancien marché …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Covent Garden —    obsolete English    engaged in or ancillary to prostitution    The London district, with the neighbouring Drury Lane, was a 17th century haunt of prostitutes (see also Drury Lane ague). AS Covent is a corruption of convent, there were many… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

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