Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Oh no it isn't- Opera House 99 years old yesterday!
The beautiful Manchester Opera House at this time of year hosts a theatrical genre that I dread - pantomime.
I have always disliked pantomimes, probably having felt embarassed and/or mystified by the slapstick, obvious jokes and enforced audience participation, ever since my childhood. They are always popular with many but I know I am not alone in my dislike! Bah, humbug...
The Opera House has in its 99 year history been a home to Luciano Pavarotti and The Covent Garden Opera (surely amongst its high points) but at this time of year it retreats (IMHO) to the level of its darkest days (i.e. when it was a bingo hall) and hosts a pantomime.
This woeful comedy theatre style has its roots in ancient Greece but took on its own peculiarly British traditons from the Restoration era from around 1717.
From www.manchesteroperahouse.org.uk/ The New Theatre, as it was named, opened on Boxing Day 1912. Struggling to compete with other establishments, it was sold to United Theatre Ltd in 1915 and was renamed the New Queens [sic] Theatre. Between the years of 1916 and 1920, Sir Thomas Beecham chose to perform there on several occasions and it was in honour of this great man that, in August of that year, the theatre was renamed The Opera House.