In 1998, all the opera house’s workshops and rehearsal spaces, which had been scattered throughout the city, were brought together in a building close to La Monnaie: the former Vandenborght furnishings shop between rue de l’Ecuyer and rue du Fossé-aux-Loups. Its twenty thousand square metres is directly accessible from rue Léopold, behind the opera house, where much of the administration is housed.
The building is organised to meet the needs of each workshop in terms of surface area, light, technical infrastructure, and safety. For set construction, a three-story-high central space was designed, with the same dimensions as the stage. Around this space are the workshops for carpentry, metalwork, sculpting, and props. The costume workshops are located on the fifth floor. The painting and furnishing workshops are on the first floor, next to two large rooms occupied by the educational service.
The rehearsal spaces
Spread over the different floors are five studios of various sizes. Above, there are two large rehearsal rooms.
In the Malibran Room, named after the celebrated diva, who lived in Brussels in the 1820s, entire scenes are rehearsed. With its 555 square metres, its technical equipment, and its fold-away seating for three hundred, the room is also suitable for smaller-scale operas and performances.
The handsome, 330-square metre Fiocco Room, named after La Monnaie’s first music director, Pietro Antonio Fiocco, has been fitted out as a rehearsal space for the orchestra. The walls, in red brick, were designed to meet stringent acoustic standards. This large empty space, into which light penetrates through a series of windows at ceiling level, can take large orchestral forces, as well as an audience of three hundred for concerts and other events.