Her Majesty’s Theatre is located on Haymarket, close to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
It has been the site of four theatre buildings over the years, which have held several different names as the name of the theatre changes with the sex of the monarch. Starting life as The Queen’s in 1705, originally the theatre was a famed venue for opera and ballet. It opened to Gli amori d’Ergasto (The Loves of Ergasto), an Italian opera by Giacomo Greber, but its status as a first rate opera house was sealed in 1711, when Handel conducted Rinaldo.
In 1714, on the accession of George I, the theatre was renamed The King’s Theatre. In the late 18th century, a fire destroyed the original building, resulting in a reconstruction in 1791.
The early 19th century saw Mozartian milestones: the first performances of Don Giovanni and The Barber of Seville in London. In 1837, the theatre underwent another name change on the accession of Victoria, to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Italian Opera House.
Fire struck the building again in 1867, and although a new theatre was built in 1869, it remained unoccupied for 6 years, until it played host to Ira D. Sankey and Dwight L. Moody’s Evangelistic Meetings.
The building returned to its roots in 1878, when Carmen by Bizet was first performed here.
In 1892, Her Majesty’s Theatre was demolished to make way for a new structure, whose foundation stone was laid by its new owner, Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1896, and it opened the next year. Tree managed the theatre for 18 years, and moved it away from its roots as an opera house, establishing it as a playhouse.
Continuing its Royal affiliation, on the accession of Edward VII, the theatre changed name again, to His Majesty’s in 1901, and was chosen as the venue for the Coronation Gala Performance for King George V in 1911.
In 1945, the theatre was acquired by the Prince Littler Group, and upon the accession of Elizabeth II in 1952 became Her Majesty’s Theatre.
1967 saw the arrival of Fiddler on the Roof to Her Majesty’s, which was performed over 2,000 times.
In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, starring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman and with Cameron Mackintosh as the producer, premiered. The show has remained here ever since, establishing itself as one of London’s longest-running musicals, and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016.
Her Majesty’s theatre tickets in London:
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