Opera faces interval outside Covent Garden

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The Independent Online

Arts Correspondent

The Royal Opera House is to rent a new purpose-built theatre near Tower Bridge in London when the Covent Garden theatre closes for redevelopment in 1997.

The Covent Garden site will be closed for two years, and both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet will move to the new theatre which will seat 2,350 people, and have a larger stage than the Royal Opera House.

The Tower Bridge Theatre has not yet been built but, subject to planning consent, it will be designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, and financed and built on the southern side of the bridge by a consortium led by Greater London Enterprise.

Sir Angus Stirling, chairman of the Royal Opera House board, said: "The Tower Bridge Theatre is all that we have been looking for. This spectacular new theatre on the Thames will ensure that our companies can continue to offer the public the full range and standard of ballet and opera for which they are renowned.''