Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Belgium's Vlaamse Opera Latest Rooftop To Host Honey Bee Colonies

Opera Buzz: Chef Nobels (r) and Rik Janssens (l)
Following suit of the Palais Garnier in Paris and Wien Staatsoper in Vienna, Vlaamse Opera becomes the most recent addition to placing bee colonies on the roof. The idea to put 160,000 bees on the roof was generated by chef Seppe Nobels from the restaurant Graanmarkt 13 in Antwerp. Four hives are under the supervision of beekeeper Rik Janssens. Hoping to produce 30-45 kilograms of "opera honey" annually, the opera intendant Aviel Cahn says he hopes it will help the environment as well. A portion of the proceeds from honey sales will go to the opera. In addition to being sold in the gift shop, guest singers will be offered the sweet nectar when performing with the opera.   
The facade of Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Belgium
"The first public opera performances in Antwerp date back to 1661. Performances took place on the stage of the Schouwburgh van de Oude Voetboog (theatre of the guild of crossbowmen) at the Grote Markt. The theatre gradually lost its popular Flemish character as French artists were engaged and the performances were no longer performed in the local (Dutch) language, but in French, the adopted language of the Flemish elite. In 1709 a new theatre was installed in the "Tapissierspand", a former covered market for tapestry where alternately Italian and French operas were performed. The new auditorium burnt down in 1746 and was replaced by a new "Grand Théâtre" which opened in 1753. During the period of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the theatre was promoted to "Théâtre Royal". At that time the
Elegant interior of the opera house
old theatre was already in decay and it became too small to house the growing public. Plans were made to tear down the old building and to replace it by a new and more prestigious building. In 1829 the last performance was given in the "Tappisierspand". The new theatre opened after the Belgian revolution in 1834. (This building is presently known as the Bourlaschouwburg and is used today for regular theatre performances.) The French repertoire (and, to a lesser extent, the Italian repertoire in French translation) continued to dominate. The opera house closed in 2005 for a 2-year renovation of the entire building. In November 2007, exactly 100 years after the grand opening in 1907, the opera opened again for a new season." [Source, Source]

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