OPERA PLACES Tim Albery takes us to London, England

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

British-Canadian director Tim Albery is coming to us from London, England where he is directing the Royal Opera House‘s production of Der fliegende Holländer running Feb 29 – March 16 (info and tickets here).

Tim’s directing has taken him around the globe with recent highlights including Capriccio for Garsington Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos at Santa Fe Opera, Arabella at San Francisco Opera, Cosi fan tutte at Royal Danish Opera, The Coronation of Poppea at Opera Theatre Saint Louis, and Silent Night for Opera North. Within Canada, he has also recently worked with the Canadian Opera Company on Rodelinda and GötterdämmerungHell’s Fury with Luminato Festival and Soundstreams Canada, and Brian Current’s Airline Icarus also with Soundstreams.

From across the pond, Tim shares with us what it is like to work in one of the world’s most beautiful theaters,  where to find some peace and quiet amongst the tourist crowds of London, and what galleries/museums are on his must-visit list.

City where you’re working?
I’m in London at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where I’ve worked several times over the years. Currently directing Der Fliegende Holländer opening Feb 29.

What’s the opera house like?
Covent Garden has a beautiful 1850s wrap-around auditorium, large but very intimate nonetheless. Backstage there is a warren of corridors to get lost in as a result of a 1990s
renovation. There are two huge rehearsal rooms where they can build even the largest set. Rehearsal time is always tight particularly tech time onstage, as there is an opera or ballet
performance pretty much every evening. But really good and friendly Stage Management and Tech crew.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Royal Opera House (@royaloperahouse)

Where is the most peaceful place in the city? And best coffee or tea?
On a sunny day you can escape the tourist hell of Covent Garden simply by taking the backstage Green Core elevator (if you can find it!) to the 6th floor and sitting outside on the terrace of the staff canteen looking out over the city. 5 minutes walk away is Somerset House on the Strand with its enormous inner courtyard. Sitting outside at the cafe the noise and hustle of the West End vanishes. And you can visit the Courtauld Gallery while you’re there. Ten minutes distant is the huge Waterstones bookshop on Piccadilly. Never that busy, it’s on five floors with various cafés. It’s in the delightful art deco building that used to be the department store Simpsons of Piccadilly. If you’re rehearsing in Rehearsal Room 2, you can nip out the back entrance in the break for really good coffee at Gelatorino over the road with the bonus of a staff discount.  

Coolest bar or restaurant you’ve been to?
For restaurants get away from the West End to hipper areas like Hoxton or Clerkenwell further east or check out the neighbourhood you are living in. In Pimlico where I am staying there is Goya, an old fashioned Spanish tapas restaurant on Lupus St; nothing outstanding but a decent, friendly local place that is not a chain. And further down the street the tiny deli “Delizie d’Italia” has been there for ever and is packed with all good things Italian. The sort of place that can still be found in some parts of London.  

An activity you have done that is unique to the area?
Take the river bus from Embankment to Greenwich on a fine day and walk up to see Greenwich Mean Time at the Royal Observatory. It is touristy, avoid weekends, but what a great way to see the city and a reminder that back in the 16th century the river used to be the main way of getting anywhere.  








View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Chris Korybalski (@korybalski)  



How did you find your accommodation? What’s the most important thing you think of when it comes to finding accommodation as a singer?
I’m staying in a friend’s apartment in Pimlico. I would recommend looking for somewhere not in or very near to Covent Garden; you’ll likely save money on rent and get to experience a
real neighbourhood. I would look north of the river, but that’s very much a personal bias, some people love South London! The tube and the buses are pretty good and run late at night. I allow half an hour door to door from where I am just north of the river opposite Battersea Power Station.

Have you had a chance to explore some galleries or museums? Is there anything else you’d recommend?
I’m going to see the Frank Auerbach exhibition at the Courtauld next week and then the Mark Rothko retrospective in Paris. If you have a couple of days off Paris is only a two and a
half hours away by Eurostar train so why wouldn’t you?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Courtauld (@courtauld)

©Andrew Lamb
Grimes on the Beach | Aldeburgh Festival | Directed by Tim Albery | Designed by Leslie Travers | Lighting by Lucy Carter 
© Tim Albery
Courtyard at Somerset House
© Tim Albery
Coffee shop near rehearsal room
ⒸTim Albery
Battersea Power Station over the river from my apartment

Der Fliegende Holländer
Royal Opera House
Feb 29 – March 16

CONDUCTOR Henrik Nánási
SET DESIGNER Michael Levine
COSTUME Constance Hoffman
CHOREOGRAPHER Philippe Giraudeau

DALAND Stephen Milling
SENTA Elisabet Strid
ERIK Toby Spence
MARY Kseniia Nikolaieva




A man doomed to sail the seas for all eternity unless he finds true love, and a woman determined to save him.

Praised in The Independent as ‘an immersive and immersing experience’, Tim Albery’s brooding and atmospheric production situates the action in a modern coastal town. Henrik Nánási conducts Wagner’s first undisputed masterpiece, featuring Elisabet Strid as Senta, in her House debut, while Bryn Terfel returns as a memorable Dutchman ‘whose soul goes fathoms deep’ (Financial Times).


Opera Canada depends on the generous contributions of its supporters to bring readers outstanding, in-depth coverage of opera in Canada and beyond.
Please consider subscribing or donating today.


We tell OPERA stories with a CANADIAN twist. If you have a news that fits that description, please email editorial@operacanada.ca with your tip. The people behind these posts are Elizabeth Bowman, Editor-In-Chief, and Cait Wood, Digital Specialist.



No event found!