Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall Review
Opened in 1871, this splendid iron-and-glass–dome auditorium hosts music programs in a wide range of genres. Its terra-cotta exterior surmounted by a mosaic frieze depicting figures engaged in artistic, scientific, and cultural pursuits, this domed, circular 5,272-seat auditorium was made possible by the Victorian public, who donated the money to build it. After funds were diverted toward the Albert Memorial (opposite), more money was raised by selling 999-year leases for 1,276 "Members'" seats at £100 apiece—today a box with five Members' Seats goes for half a million pounds. The notoriously poor acoustics were fixed after a 2004 renovation and the sightlines are excellent. The RAH hosts everything from pop and classical headliners to Cirque du Soleil, ballet on ice, awards ceremonies, and Sumo wrestling championships, but is best-known as the venue for the annual July–September BBC Promenade Concerts—the "Proms"—with bargain-price standing (or promenading, or sitting-on-the-floor) tickets sold on the night of the concert. The hall is also open daily for daytime guided tours (£11.50) and occasional afternoon tea (£30–£38).
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