May 18th to 23rd, 2008

This is an official programme of The American Friends of Covent Garden.  As such, we present highlights of the programme itinerary for the reader's information.  We find the  programme unique in that it offers opportunities for personal insights generally not available to London's many visitors.  Furthermore, there are opportunities for interpersonal exchanges, and intimate exposure to the virtuosity of a world class performing arts organization.

Lastly, there is the satisfaction one derives from supporting the arts.

Further information, including programme details, items included or excluded, terms, conditions and costs are available by contacting Katrina Vanderlip, Executive Director
American Friends of Covent Garden by email at .

Tower Bridge


Day 1 - Sunday,  May 18th

Welcome to London

Afternoon Tea 

Welcome afternoon tea is kindly hosted by Dame Judith Mayhew in her London residence.   Dame Judith is Chairman of The Royal Opera House

Evening at leisure – Suggest Gordon Ramsey At Claridge’s

Day 2 - Monday, May 19th

A Walking tour of St James’s

A walk that takes you through St James’s Park, to the famous Mall and the elegant Regency-style Carlton House Terrace. Then onwards passing the statue of King George VI to view Marlborough House, originally the London home of the ancestors of Winston Churchill and later the residence of many heirs to the throne and widowed Queens. Then on to St James's Palace, built for King Henry VIII in the 1530s.


Spencer House

A exclusive visit to Spencer House

This sumptuous mansion just off St James’s is a wonderful Georgian house owned by the Spencer Family but currently leased to Lord Rothschild.

A guided tour of the Houses of Parliament

This wonderful building combines the historic site of the old royal palace with the good planning and fine craftsmanship of the mid nineteenth century.  It was built to display the history of the nation, but it now has to cope with the ever–increasing demands of a busy parliament.  While it lacks the full number of offices that are needed, the quality of its architecture and sense of history ensures the need to preserve and enhance it.

Private luncheon in the House of Lords hosted by a Peer of the Realm in The Peers Dining Room.   Over coffee, following lunch, please feel free to ask questions on how it feels to be a working Peer in today’s House of Lords.

Special Evening visit to The Chelsea Flower Show Gala

Private cocktail party at the home of a leading cotemporary art collector

The Chelsea Flower Charity Gala Preview
The opening evening at the World’s most famous flower show.

Day 3 - Tuesday, May 20th

An intimate introduction to the Royal Opera House

Guests enjoy a fascinating panel discussion regarding the running and artistic aspects of this World Famous Establishment prior to a backstage tour of The House offering unprecedented private access.

Lunch at Daylesfords Organic Restaurant

The restaurant specialises in what is organic, fresh, seasonal and local in a beautiful white marble restaurant.

Visit the showroom of David Linley 

David Linley is the Queen’s nephew and he is located next door to the restaurant.

Visit the Belgravia Gallery in the heart of Mayfair

This is the only gallery in the world that exhibits and offers for sale, original prints and lithographs by the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert exclusively.

Pre-Performance talk at The Royal Opera House

An introduction to this evening’s performance of Tosca during which champagne and canapés will be served with the compliments of The Royal Opera House.


Tosca at The Royal Opera House with dinner

The story follows a complex and ill-fated triangle of passions: the naïve idealism of a painter, the state-sanctioned sadism of the Chief of Police and, caught between them, the beautiful diva whose ability to inspire passion is her fatal undoing. Puccini’s music has such great set pieces such as the ‘Te Deum’, ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’, linked by a musical drama that constantly winds up the tension towards the inevitable, fateful conclusion.

A reception will be hosted by The Royal Opera House in The Trust Rooms during the interval.

Day 4 - Wednesday, May 21st

The National Gallery with Katrina

The National Gallery secures its lofty reputation with one of the world's best European collections dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries.  To start the collection, the government purchased 38 paintings from merchant John Angerstein in 1824.  The paintings, originally displayed in his house, were moved to this stately building in 1838. Today's National Gallery has expanded to include famous names like Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Gainsborough.


Two Boys and a Girl making Music
 Molenaer, about 1610 - 1668

The subject of children making music celebrates the carefree pleasures of youth. The boy on the left is playing a violin, and the one on the right a 'rommelpot' (rumbling pot). The girl, who is wearing a soldier's gorget, beats an accompaniment with spoons on a helmet.

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection is located in Hertford House, a rare survivor of a palatial London town house occupying an entire side of a tranquil garden square.

Assembled by five generations of one family, it is a unique display of some of the world’s finest works of art.  Old master paintings such as Frans Hal’s The Laughing Cavalier and Fragonards’s The Swing as well as works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez and Van Dyck are complemented by sculpture, porcelain, armour and ornate eighteenth-century French furniture.

Lunch at leisure in The Wallace Restaurant


Lady With a Fan, Velasquez

Brief Encounter: A New Identity – Velasquez “Lady with a Fan”

A micro lecture by Andrew Shingleton

The Reform Club - An insider’s visit hosted by Peggy Czyzak Dannenbaum

The Reform Club was founded in 1836, in Pall Mall, in the centre of what is often called London’s Clubland.  The founders commissioned a leading architect of the day, Charles Barry, to build an imposing and palatial clubhouse.  It is as splendid today as when it opened in 1841. 


Ballet at The Royal Opera House

After an absence of 30 years Jerome Robbins’s great work Dances at a Gathering makes an exciting return to The Royal Ballet. To solo piano works by Chopin, ten dancers explore the potential of dance itself through shifting relationships that also reflect the moods of the music’s mazurkas, waltzes and études. With virtuoso technique and individual character at the heart of its creation, every performance of Dances by The Royal Ballet will be a unique experience to savour.

Refreshments will be served during the interval

There’s a strong contrast in the second work of the programme, The Dream: with Shakespeare’s story of a midsummer’s night, Mendelssohn’s delightfully delicate music and Frederick Ashton’s ever-popular choreography. In its magic world of night and within its evocative woodland setting, Oberon and Titania play their games with the unwitting mortals, while the comic confusions of love are aggravated by the mischievous Puck.             

Following the performance, enjoy dinner in the Crush Rooms

Day 5  - Thursday, May 22nd

Privileged access to Rehearsals At The Royal Opera House

Hosted by the Royal Opera House, guests will enjoy a sneak preview as the artists rehearse for the evening performance.


Light lunch at The Royal Opera House with Tony Hall

After joining the Royal Opera House Tony Hall set up ROH2, as a department devoted to supporting new artists and developing new audiences. Since then, Tony has set up new initiatives to widen access to the Opera House - including big screen relays to locations across the UK, Paul Hamlyn matinees, and other promotional schemes.


Winfield House

Winfield House – A Private Party

We attend a special cocktail reception at Winfield House, home of the American Ambassador to the Court of St James as guests of Ambassador and Mrs. Robert Tuttle.  Some of the hosts and hostesses on the programme will be invited to meet you at this reception.

Please note:  Some aspects of this programme have been prepared by the Noteworthy Group.