The toughest opera season in the world

The toughest opera season in the world


norman lebrecht

April 02, 2017

We have just received the new brochure from La Monnaie in Brussels.



It’s not a lot of laughs.

Director Peter de Caluwé writes: ‘When we reflect on our mission, we don’t only think about our artistic vision but also, and above all, our higher purpose.’

Apart from Cav&Pag there is not a single obvious crowd-pleaser in the season. No Verdi or Puccini. No bel canto. No Mozart/DaPonte. No Carmen.

Just very serious stuff:

Boesmans, Pinocchio

Rossini, Tancredi

Mozart, Lucio Silla

Poulenc, Dialogues des Carmelites

Dallapiccola, Il Prigioniero – with Rihm, Das Gehege

Wagner, Lohengrin

Bartok, Bluebeard’s Castle/Miraculous Mandarin


  • Fred says:

    Yep, the reign of this guy will go down in the Monnaie’s history as the worst ever….no originality, politically correct programming….When I hear the word “mission” vis a vis opera I have to vomit.
    The guy tried to get several times a post elsewhere that’s why he’s stuck in Brussels with a board of directors made up of poltically assigned profiteurs with no backbone.
    Moreover there’s a lot of grudging among his personnel as well.
    Though I live in Brussels I never go to the Monnaie anymore.
    And while i LOVE cav and pag there are other works more worthwhile hearing.
    Subscriptions went down and will go down further.
    No one I know has a positive word about this boss, no wonder no one else wants him. Poor Brussels indeed


    WOW! I think it looks like a fantastic season – with some very exciting casting too

    • David Nice says:

      So do I – maybe it’s a luxury for those of us who want to see some rarities, but The Carmelites, Lohengrin and Bluebeard’s Castle are total masterpieces anyway.

  • Halldor says:

    Oh c’mon, looks interesting enough, true; I’d go. But a super-subsidised continental house presenting a season of Dead White Males and a couple of tame Establishment modernists? Just take a look at what Welsh National Opera’s been doing in recent seasons, with no safety net. That’s risk-taking.

  • Brian B says:

    No bel canto? What’s Rossini’s Tancredi then? I’m confused.
    Lohengrin is pretty popular, I’d say.

  • Brendan says:

    Looks exciting to me with Lohengrin, Tancredi, and Carmelites not to mention Bartok double bill and the Cav & Pag. I wish I was presented such delights here in Oslo.