How to get there and back – train & underground; £14.50 (with railcard)
How long it takes – An evening
How much I paid – £20 (for the show only); £ca. 40 (all inclusive)
Where to stay – N/A
Where to eat – not necessary; but find suggestions below
What to do and see – show of the night; look online to see what’s on
The English National Opera (ENO) is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum next to Trafalgar Square. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London along with the Royal Opera. Their productions are sung in English and travel to more than 20 international opera houses. At the same time the London Coliseum is the location to see many international productions as well as the English National Ballet and other international ballet companies. Their programme is versatile and reaches from the very classical to the modern.
WHAT THEY OFFER
The ENO/London Coliseum usually offers a wide range of productions around the year from classical operas like the Magic Flute and Carmen to more unusual and modern productions such as Porgy & Bess. All year, but especially around Christmas, they offer sublime productions from the English National Ballet such as the Nutcracker.
23 Jul – 28 Jul: Peter Schaufuss Ballet – various showings of Swan Lake, the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty
29 Jul: Maris Liepa Gala (tribute to the legendary Boldhoi dancer Maris Liepa)
03 Aug – 11 Aug: English National Ballet – Swan Lake
13 Sep – 18 Oct: The Magic Flute (Mozart)
17 Sep – 03 Oct: Julietta (Martinu)
01 Oct – 02 Nov: Julius Caesar (Handel)
17 Oct – 17 Nov: Don Giovanni
05 Nov – 28 Nov: The Pilgrim’s Progress (Williams)
21 Nov – 09 Dec: Carmen
01 Dec – 31 Jan: The Mikado
12 Dec – 05 Jan: English National Ballet – Nutcracker 2012
HOW TO GET A SHOW ON A STUDENT BUDGET
Ticket prices can vary between £10 – £67 and if you want to have a decent seat it can easily cost £40 per person. Which is why I always do the following: If I want to see a 19:30 showing I show up at the London Coliseum around 19:00 and go to the ticket counter. There I ask whether any seats are still available at a student discount. This will often get you seats in the Upper Circle for £20 and in the Dress Circle and Stalls for £30-40. To give you an idea what the view from the Upper Circle is like see below.
PLACES TO EAT BEFORE THE SHOW
The half an hour between 19:00 and 19:30 is not really enough for dinner, but great for a stroll around Trafalgar Square and then to find and settle into your seats. However, before buying tickets you might want to have a nice dinner. Here are a few suggestions for places in the area:
J Sheekey Oyster Bar (Fish/Seafood) ££££
Something a little more expensive, but worth it. Much like the Café Florian in Venice this Oyster Bar does not really need any advertising – its reputation far precedes it. And it is well-deserved. Other wise the main restaurant is worth a trip, too. Address: 33-34 St Martin’s Court, WC2N 4AL; Tube station: Leicester square
Jom Makan (Malaysian) ££££
This Malaysian heaven provides a no-fuss dinner at low prices. While the ambiance is simple at best – it is a sort of canteen-style place – the food is amazing. They serve you classical Malaysian favourites, but also some more unusual dishes. Address: 5-7 Pall Mall East, SW1Y 5BA; Tube station: Charing Cross
Otherwise Wagamama, Pizza Express, Prezzo, Browns and similar chains are just a short walk away.
For dessert: Gino Gelato ££££
A paradise for ice cream lovers. A plethora of different flavours, home-made with Italian Tradiation and British Organic Milk and without burdening the pockets, Gino Gelato is totally worth a visit. Address: Gino Gelato, 3 Adelaide Street, WC2N 4HZ; Tube station: Charing Cross