La Monnaie - De Munt
La Monnaie - De Munt tours
Discover La Monnaie!
A 90-minute guided tour of La Monnaie immerses you in the fascinating world of the opera, in its history and architecture: from the glitz and glamour of the Main Auditorium, the Grand Staircase, the Grand Foyer and the Royal Salon to the Museum Space where authentic machinery and a wonderful maquette of a baroque theatre à l’italienne are on display. Our guides will share with you their passion for, and knowledge of one of the most innovating opera houses in Europe.
On some of the guided tours, the Workshops are also open to the public, giving you a rare opportunity to evaluate a whole range of authentic opera professions and the true craftmanship behind our productions. Book in advance..
Duration: 90 minutes
How to book: Check website for details
Starting Point : La Monnaie Workshops, 23, rue Léopold
Tour dates: From September to June, not on public holidays.
Cost: +30 years: €15 / -30 years and ICOM Card: €7.5 / Free for season ticket holders, MM Friends, Patrons & MM Maecenas
How to get there
La Monnaie is located in the historic heart of Brussels, near the City Hall and the Grand-Place. The opera house is easily accessed by public transport.
For further information please see the theatre’s website
Belgium hosts a varied array of theatres and theatrical architecture with influences from across Europe. From opulent opera houses to enchanting private theatres, Belgium is a treat for visitors with a passion for theatre architecture.
The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (or la Monnaie) in French, or the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg (or de Munt) in Dutch is a theatre in Brussels, Belgium. Both of its names translate as Royal Theatre of the Mint. Today the National Opera of Belgium, a federal institution, takes the name of the theatre in which it is housed. The current edifice is the third theatre on the site. The façade dates from 1818 with major alterations made in 1856 and 1986. The foyer and auditorium date from 1856, but almost every other element of the present building was extensively renovated in the 1980s. The first permanent public theatre for opera performances of the court and city of Brussels was built between 1695 and 1700 by the Venetian architects Paolo and Pietro Bezzi, as part of a rebuilding plan following the bombardment of Brussels. It was built on the site of a building that had served to mint coins. The name of this site la Monnaie ("the Mint") remained attached to the theatre for the centuries to come. The Elector had charged his "trésorier", the Italian Gio-Paolo Bombarda, with the task of financing and supervising the enterprise. The date of the first performance in 1700 remains unknown.
After the fire of January 1855, the theatre was reconstructed after the designs of Joseph Poelaert within a period of fourteen months. The auditorium (with 1,200 seats) and the foyer were decorated in a then-popular Eclectic Style; a mixture of Neo-Baroque, Neo-Rococo and Neo-Renaissance Styles. The lavish decoration made excessive use of gilded "carton-pierre" decorations and sculptures, red velvet and brocade. The auditorium was lit by the huge crystal chandelier that today still hangs in the centre of the domed ceiling. It is made of gilded bronze and venetian crystals. The original dome painting - representing "Belgium Protecting the Arts" - was painted in the Parisian workshop of François-Joseph Nolau (Paris 1804-1883) and Auguste-Alfred Rubé (Paris, 1815-1899), two famous decorators of the Parisian Opera House. In 1887 this dome painting was completely repainted by Auguste-Alfred Rubé (Paris, 1815-1899) himself and his new associate Philippe-Marie Chaperon (Paris, 1826–1907), because it was mostly tainted by the CO2 emissions from the chandelier. This dome painting stayed untouched until 1985, when it was taken down during extensive rebuilding activities and replaced by a bad copy, painted by the Belgian painter Xavier Crolls. From 1988 until 1998 the dome painting of Rubé and Chaperon was in restoration. In 1999, it was reinstated and decorates today one of the most beautiful opera houses of Europe.