Belgian Government Shuts Down Theaters & Opera Houses

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Opera Online)

The government of Belgium has decided to completely shut down theaters and opera houses due to the soaring number of COVID-19 Omicron infections.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that restrictions in the past three weeks had helped reduce COVID-19 infections, principally of the delta variant, since a late November peak.

“But despite the slightly positive figures, it is clear there is cause for concern. There is a pirate ship off the coast and that is the omicron variant,” added De Croo.

However, theater companies are not onboard with the decision with notable opera companies such as the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège and La Monnaie openly condemning the decision.

“No more arguments in the face of these mediocre political games. Hallucinating! These people have never set foot in a theater. They do not understand the reality of our profession,” said the La Monnaie’s General Director Peter de Caluwe.

“The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège took note this Wednesday evening of the authorities’ decision to completely close theaters from Sunday Dec. 26 and until a date as yet undetermined. It is a real feeling of anger and indignation that we feel in the face of this decision, taken unilaterally and in contempt of the substantial efforts put in place to comply with the measures enacted previously,” said the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège in an official press statement. “These decisions are a glove thrown in the face of thousands of people who work, each and every at their own level, in the culture sector, and who have put great efforts since the start of this pandemic to ensure the successful continuity of their missions in complete safety.”

Accordingly, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège has canceled performances of Rossini’s “Otello, Ossia il Moro di Venezia” on December 26, 28 and 31.