Backstage at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
I was lucky enough to work at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for 4 years whilst I was doing my classical music degree, and it became like a second home to me. I loved the hustle and bustle of being in one of the best music and dance establishments in the world, and the dedication and commitment to excellence was everywhere to see, and after the massive 1999 refurbishment, the energy and excitement was palpable in the air.
The 600 – 700 strong team of people that make up the ROH quickly became like a family to me and I cherish those years as some of the happiest in my life. Oh and I was paid to watch world class ballet and opera, what a dream job!
Whilst I was there, I happened to peer down into the orchestra pit one night and struck up a conversation with Nigel Bates, at the time the Principal percussionist of the Orchestra. This innocent starter conversation has led to 14 years of friendship and mentorship and I deeply treasure our friendship. He also often leaves me in awe of the cool things he does. He will often leave our coffee and catch up sessions with a “Right, best be off. Off to record the music for the new Lord of The Rings film” or some such coolness!
Anyway, on one of our catch up sessions this summer, I got him to record a couple of little pieces to camera and thought I’d share them with you now. The first is a video of the massive backstage area at the ROH. Honestly, if you think you’ve seen a backstage area before, you haven’t! This is one of the biggest and most well eqiupped backstages in the world and if you are interested in such things, you can take an official tour. Well worth it.
The next is a view that you probably won’t find anywhere else. The little secret den that the ROH percussionists use. It’s full of all sorts of interesting sticks, bells, horns and knick knacks. Like an Aladdin’s cave for percussionists, I could spend hours in here.