Breaking: Belgium aims to merge national orchestra with La Monnaie

Breaking: Belgium aims to merge national orchestra with La Monnaie


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2014

Yet another orchestra is facing abolition.

La Monnaie in Brussels has been ordered to cut its spending by 6.5 million Euros – shedding 4% on staff ad 20% on operating costs.

The government is nudging it to merge the opera orchestra with the national orchestra (ONB). Peter Caluwe, the Monnaie’s intendant, has come out fighting today in the media, but it’s sounding like a done deal.

The plague of abolitionism is spreading – Rome Opera, Belfast, French Radio, now Brussels.


Each of these situations is, for different reasons, fragile. But someone, somewhere, is going to have to take a stand.


  • CDH says:

    Are they? Who? When? Where?

  • Abendroth says:

    What bad and unnecessary decisions. I mean, when two orchestras are functioning, why merge them ? Is the cost reduction really worth what the public loses in terms of offer ?

  • Fred says:

    hmm, ‘Belgium’ is too small a country for three opera houses and several orchestras, two operas houses would be far enough, one for Flanders and one for Wallonia and two orchestras would be enuff as well. Too much subsidy money for diminishing audiences…..
    The Munt (or Monnaie as some say here) now belongs to the past, an institution which once had its worth but that’s over. the house can be used for the two regional companies to play in.
    Conservatories should be scrutinized as well, what’s the use of them if people graduating can’t find a job anymore?

  • George says:

    Very disturbed by ‘Fred”s comment. Can you imagine a county without music? Musicians forced to take another profession? What a loss to humanity that would be. Imagine Beethoven, Mozart not composing because they cant find a patron to compose for. I believe one is born a musician and nothing will stop someone living their life with music. And this is also why music and musicians have ideals and will always survive. I wish people would cherish this and cherish music as something that nourishes all people.

  • Paul says:

    Well Fred, since in 2011 De Munt was given the award for best Opera house of the year, I really fail to see how this institution would belong to the past.

  • STO says:

    George, you are off the point. Fred is not saying that Belgium should be a country without music, nor great musicians in the past should have lost their profession. moreover, in my opinion there is no such a thing like born to be a musician, maybe Mozart would have been a painter, Beethoven a writer, or why not inventor or comedian, if not musician. And needless to say all those moderate orchestra routine working players are no comparison to those giants in the history. I agree for natural selection.

  • Novagerio says:

    Gerard Mortier laughing out loud from his grave! “I’m dead, and so is my Monnaie!”