The National Opera of Belgium - Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie - impressed with its enthusiasm for innovation during the 'golden decade' of Gérard Mortier's tenure (1982-1992): the Belgian-born director managed to transform La Monnaie into one of Europe's - and world's - most surprising opera companies. And even though Mortier, following some challenging yet triumphant seasons in Paris, has already moved on to Madrid, his courageous way of thinking and faith in his artists have left some permanent impact on the approach of the people currently in charge of building the repertoire of the Brussels Opera.
In the 1960s, the strength of La Monnaie lay in the avant-garde choreographer Maurice Béjart's Ballet du XXième Siècle company.
Before that, 25 August 1830 saw no less than the beginning of the Belgian Revolution at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie: the performance of Daniel François Esprit Auber's La Muette de Portici (The Mute Girl of Portici), an opera production staged to mark the 59th birthday of Willem I, the King of the Netherlands, excited the audience so much that people left the auditorium mid-performance and took to the streets with cries of 'To arms!' to demand independence from the Netherlands - which they eventually won.
The current opera house was erected on the site where in 1700, a hundred and fifty-five years earlier, the first building of La Monnaie, one of the most beautiful European opera houses, was unveiled. After several fires and series of renovations, it has been restored to the original colour scheme and former appeal, including the main attraction - the magnificent foyer.
Place de la Monnaie
Keywords: Brussels, Opera House