The federal opera house in the capital of Europe


© Anne-Sophie Noël

Renovation of the opera house

One of the key elements in the renovation of the La Monnaie opera house is the installation of a new fly loft with four stage lifts. Two lifts were delivered and installed on Wednesday 15 February and two more on Wednesday 22 February.

Transport by night to Brussels city centre

The stage lifts were made in Austria. Because of their huge dimensions – 14.5 metres long by 2.6 metres wide and weighing no less than 34 tonnes – they could only be brought into the centre of Brussels at night by special transport.

How were the lifts brought into the opera house? 

Getting the lifts into the opera house was a technical tour de force.

First of all, two special cranes had to be positioned in Prinsenstraat/rue des Princes and Leopoldstraat/rue Léopold, both of which were completely blocked off.

Then, the cranes raised the lifts until they could be brought into the opera house, on their sides, through the sets entrance (which is located on the lowest level).

Underneath the stage, the contractor had laid rails on which four enormous mobile hydraulic jacks were installed, in pairs connected to each other by bars. These two “braces” were placed on either side of a lift and used to raise it and move it, the way shipping containers are moved, into the opera house.

Finally, the lifts had to be made horizontal, by rotating them 90 degrees, and then secured in their definitive locations. This was an extremely meticulous operation, as a space of just 2 millimetres was to be left between two lifts, to a height of 3 metres! They had, thus, to be perfectly positioned so that they cannot deviate.

The new fly loft, with its four stage lifts, is a key element in the current renovation process. Now that the heart of our stage is in place, the end of the works is in sight and the machinery of staging can gradually start getting into gear.

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