Royal Opera, one of the principal British opera companies, based at the Royal Opera House (which it shares with the Royal Ballet) in Covent Garden, London. Formed in 1946 as the Covent Garden Opera Company, it was granted its current title in 1968. Its debut performance was Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen, presented with Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet). Early performances were sung in English by singers from Britain and the Commonwealth, among them Geraint Evans, Joan Sutherland, and Jon Vickers. Karl Rankl was the first music director (1946–51); Rafael Kubelík (see under Kubelík, Jan), the second (1955–58). Later music directors have included Georg Solti (1961–71), Sir Colin Davis (1971–86), Bernard Haitink (1987–2002), and Antonio Pappano (2002–). Oliver Meers has been director of opera since 2017.
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