While other opera houses have turned timid in the face of financial uncertainties, the modestly-funded La Monnaie continues to maintain Brussels' reputation for boldness and innovation in the 2014-15 season.
La Monnaie may not haul in the big stars, but once again they've managed to come up with some exciting programming for their next season.
Top of my list is Romeo Castellucci's new production of Orphée et Eurydice, a co-production with the Wiener Festwochen to mark the tricentenary of Gluck's birth. Hervé Niquet conducts. (On a separate note, another must-see is Castellucci's fabulous Parsifal, originally produced for La Monnaie and now reprised in Bologna in January 2014.)
Here are the other new productions:
Rigoletto - conductor Carlo Rizzi, director Robert Carsen
Hamlet - conductor Marc Minkowski,
director Olivier Py
La Clemenza di Tito - conductor Ludovic Morlot, director Ivo van Hove
See for yourselves between 5 and 25 January 2013, when the show will be streamed FREE on La Monnaie's web site. Those in continental Europe can catch it a bit sooner; it's shown on Arte Live Web on 15 December.
La Monnaie have announced a characteristically adventurous new season for 2012/13, with the theme "an attempt to map human passion". It includes a new opera (by Belgian composer Benoît Mernier), new productions of Lucrezia Borgia, Manon Lescaut, Lulu and La Traviata and Michael Haneke's Così .
And you don't even need to book that Eurostar ticket; continuing this season's successful experiment, every opera will be streamed online.
The full list:
Passion: c.Franck Ollu / d.Sasha Waltz
Pelléas et Mélisande: c.Ludovic Morlot / d.Pierre Audi
Lucrezia Borgia (new production): c.Julian Reynolds / d.Guy Joosten
Così fan tutte: c.Ludovic Morlot / d.Michael Haneke
La Dispute (by Benoît Mernier, world premiere): c.Patrick Davin / d.Karl-Ernst & Ursel Herrmann
Manon Lescaut (new production): c.Carlo Rizzi / d.Mariusz Treliński
Lulu (new production): c.Lothar Koenigs / d.Krzysztof Warlikowski
La traviata (new production): c.Ádám Fischer / d.Andrea Breth
Roméo et Juliette (opera in concert): c.Evelino Pidò
To add to this week's free laptop viewing, La Monnaie are streaming a recently recorded performance of Rusalka on demand from Tuesday 27 March to Monday 16 April.
Stefan Herheim's 2008 production tells the story from the Water Goblin's perspective. Yes, Rusalka is a ho, but there are no fake pussies, and Stefan Herheim's concept is bolder and clearer than Covent Garden's recent production.