“La Monnaie’s Intendant Peter de Caluwe describes it as ‘a cultural blackout,’ ” writes Frank Cadenhead in Friday’s (10/24) Musical America, reporting about recently announced government cuts to the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium. “Without any warning or discussion, dramatic budget cuts are to be instituted Jan. 1…. Specifically, the theater would be required to cut its personnel expenses by 4 percent and general operating expenses by 20 percent, scheduled to increase to 30 percent by 2019. A report from Belgian media group RTL further indicates that the new government will be looking for ‘synergies and efficiencies [to] be achieved through close cooperation between the Orchestra Nationale de Belgique and le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie.’ … ‘The measures announced are very similar to an anti-cultural [campaign],’ says De Caluwe.… ‘We risk having to end part of our activities. We would have to reconsider our entire programming.’ … La Monnaie has been recognized as one of Europe’s most important cultural institutions since the arrival of Gerard Mortier as intendant in 1981. It was during his 11-year tenure that the company emerged from a sleepy regional theater into a cutting-edge artistic force.”

Posted October 27, 2014