Founded in 1967, the asbl-Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège is, to a large extent, subsidized by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and the City and Province of Liège. It is one of the three major opera houses in Belgium. Since its creation, the institution has been based in the Théâtre Royal de Liège, a beautiful building of the 19th century given by the City of Liège (inaugurated on November 4, 1820).
Its geographic situation, in the heart of Liège and the Euregio, at the crossroads between Germany, the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and France, attracts a Belgian and international audience.
Since 2007, the general manager of the institution has been Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera. He also holds the post of artistic director assisted by Paolo Arrivabeni, the music director, whose talent is recognized and appreciated worldwide, and by Marcel Seminara, the chorus director.
Works from the 19th century repertoire (Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, etc.) occupy a large place in our theatre's program, but the Opéra also has a mission of discovery. Thus, the Liège-based opera house opens its doors to the less familiar repertoire of the 18th century, with composers such as Cherubini, Galuppi, Gluck and Grétry.
Throughout the years, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège gained international recognition and managed to establish as a major player in its city, region, and on a national and international scale. Ruggero Raimondi, Juan Diego Florez, Deborah Voigt, Jose Cura, José Van Dam, Patrizia Ciofi, Daniela Dessi, Fabio Armiliato, Petrika Ionesco, Gianlugi Gelmetti, and Riccardo Mutti among others, are the artists, if not stars, who regularly perform at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. But the institution is also keen to discover local and/or budding artists. That is why every year, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège is committed to offering castings combining harmoniously those artists.
The Orchestra and the Chorus are extremely capable and shine in many genres of opera. This ease is recognised not only by the public but also by the specialist press and professionals from the world of opera. The Opéra is also regularly invited to perform abroad, for example at the Balbeeck International Festival and the Santander Festival.
The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège has large facilities dedicated to the creation of costumes and stage sets. Thus, each season, 3 to 4 productions are realised in its workshops. The know-how of its artisans also contributes to the fame and prestige of the institution. This reputation also makes it possible to coproduce numerous shows with Swiss, Italian, French, Spanish or even American opera houses, and to establishing strong relations with a number of foreign institutions (San Francisco, Washington, Lausanne, Madrid, Oviedo, Santiago, the Opéra-Comique of Paris, the Opéra de Monte Carlo, Turin, Palermo, Trieste, Bologna, Tel-Aviv…). This does not prevent it from being fully integrated into the local and cultural fabric of the community and from offering productions aimed at young audiences, particularly in an educational context.
The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège moves with the times and innovates. Since 2010, six operas per season have been broadcast live and free of charge on the internet. Some of them where released in DVDs and/or CDs.