Belgian Government Reopens Theaters Following Council of State’s Ruling

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Johan Jacobs)

The government of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has officially reopened theaters following a decision by the Council of State.

Using an emergency procedure, the Council of State ruled that the government’s closure measures were not proportionate, and didn’t provide enough motives to understand why attending cultural performances was particularly dangerous for public health.

Per the government’s official announcement, theaters and opera houses are allowed to reopen for audiences of up to 200 people at a time. All spectators must wear masks and present a COVID pass to prove vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery. The rule change takes effect from Dec. 30, 2021.

However, the reopening might not be coming at the right time for the vulnerable cultural institutions. Belgian opera house La Monnaie took to Twitter, saying that it welcomes the decision of the Council of State to reopen theatres. “Unfortunately, the measures forced us to interrupt our ‘Norma.’ The artistic team has already left Brussels and the set has been dismantled, so we will sadly not be able to stage the last performances,” said La Monnaie.

La Monnaie has already canceled all of its concertini in January 2022, and temporarily blocked ticket purchases for Bizet’s “Carmen” starring Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Ève-Maud Hubeaux, Michael Fabiano, Andrea Carè, Elsa Dreisig, Anne-Catherine Gillet, and Jean-Sébastien Bou.

The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège will begin rehearsals for the double bill of Giordano’s “Mese Mariano” and Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” in early January 2022. The works star Serena Farnocchia, Violeta Urmana, Sarah Laulan, Julie Bailly, Aurore Bureau, Morgane Heyse, Natacha Kowalski, and Patrick Delcour.