Belgium's Op_ra Royal de Wallonie, Its Future Once in Doubt, Gets a Reprieve

Classic Arts News   Belgium's Op_ra Royal de Wallonie, Its Future Once in Doubt, Gets a Reprieve
 
The Lige-based Op_ra Royal de Wallonie, the only major opera house serving the French-speaking southern half of Belgium, has had its budget guaranteed through 2010 by the Belgian Ministry of Culture.

The news must come as a considerable relief to the company's president, Lige mayor Willy Demeyer, and its executive director, Jean-Louis Grinda. According to a report in the newspaper La Libre Belgique, over the past two years Grinda had complained publicly that funding promises made by the ministry had been subsequently refused. There had even been speculation from officials that the Op_ra Royal orchestra would be merged with the Orchestre philharmonique de Lige as a cost-cutting measure. The two ensembles will remain separate entities.

The opera house's budget will be indexed annually to cover yearly increases in staff salaries. In addition, the orchestra will receive an extra €1.6 million in government support over a five-year period. National Lottery money awarded to the house will be reduced, but, according to La Libre Belgique, the company will be in a stronger financial position overall.


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