In The Beginning The present building of London's Royal Opera House is the third theatre on the Covent Garden site, since the original one burned down in two separate fires in 1808 and 1856. Its rich history began in 1728, when John Rich commissioned The Beggar's Opera from John Gay, and the success of the venture provided capital to build the first Theatre Royal. In its first 100 years or so, it was primarily a playhouse, and the first serious musical works performed were operas by Handel ...

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