Fire Breaks Out at Opéra de Liège & Alters Opening of the Season

By Francisco Salazar

Belgium’s Opéra de Liège has announced a change of venue for its upcoming International Opera Conducting Competition due to a fire that broke out in the theater.

General Director Stefano Pace said in a press release, “on July 7 around 2 p.m., a fire broke out in the electrical panels located in the basement of the Théâtre Royal de Liège and controlling the lower stage machinery. Thanks to a quick reaction from the Opera concierge and the effective intervention of the Liège firefighters, the fire was brought under control before it spread to the auditorium or the stage cage.”

He continued, “Nevertheless, the smoke from the fire spread through the building, requiring a thorough cleaning. For this, we called on a specialized company, which mobilized a large team. The cleaning is currently in progress: it is a complex task, in particular because of the volume of the spaces to be treated (hall, stage, etc.) which requires, among other things, work at height. The fire also destroyed electrical cables supplying the stage machinery and several other essential devices. An expert is in progress, before the closure of which it is not possible to replace the damaged wiring and equipment.”

The press release added, “our technical teams, the services of the City of Liège and external companies are doing their utmost to allow the Theater to be repaired as soon as possible. However, it will not be possible to return to the Theater on August 16 to start the 2022-2023 season as planned. Therefore, with the collaboration of the Director General of the Orchester Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Mr. Daniel Weissmann, we were able to find a solution so that the second edition of the International Competition for Opera Conductors, scheduled from 17 to August 21, 2022, takes place at the Salle Philharmonique de Liège, boulevard Piercot 25/27.”

Pace thanked Mr. Weissmann and the OPRL teams for the support and added, “as for the activities and shows planned for the opening of the season, we are doing everything we can to be able to present them to our public without altering the calendar and in the best conditions.”