Opera house La Monnaie re-opens after renovation


Arias are echoing inside La Monnaie once more. After a two-year renovation, the doors of the Brussels opera house have opened again to music lovers. The first performance on the programme is ‘Pinocchio’ by Philippe Boesmans and Joël Pommerat.

The renovation was mainly focused on technical aspects. Four hydraulic lifts were installed under the stage which can move pieces of scenery and performers upstage or downstage. The old lifts were so noisy that they were never usable during performances, but this will now be an option again. The computer-controlled suspension systems above the stage have also been renewed, as have the rails to pull scenery onto the stage. Among other things, new seating and an improved ventilation system have been installed as well and the theatre has been entirely fitted with LED lighting.

The renovation has not been entirely completed yet though. Improvements to the façade and the foyer are still ongoing. And last but not least, there will be an underground tunnel from La Monnaie to the workshops in Rue Léopold, thirty metres away. This will facilitate the transport of large pieces of scenery without having to use a truck.

However, the last finishing touches will not hinder the re-opening of La Monnaie to the public. For the past two years, opera lovers have had to make do with a tent at Tour & Taxis. In brand new seats they will now be able to satisfy their senses again with enchanting melodies and powerful opera voices. The first performance in the newly-renovated La Monnaie will be Pinocchio by Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans. The director of the piece is the Frenchman Joël Pommerat. More information on the La Monnaie website.

The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Royal Theatre of the Coin), as La Monnaie is officially called, dates back to 1819. The building played a prominent role in the Belgian fight for independence in 1830. After a performance of the opera La Muette de Portici by Daniel François Esprit Auber, anti-Dutch riots broke out, which led to revolution a couple of months later and eventually to Belgian independence. In 1855, La Monnaie was largely destroyed by a fire. The reconstruction was led by Joseph Poelaert, who is primarily known as the architect of the Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice) in Brussels.