The Children of the Sea

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November 2020
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The sea gives; and the sea takes away. For generations, a poor fishing family has been afflicted by a ghastly curse: one after another, its fathers drown before their first child is born. This moving tale of fate inspired the magnum opus of one of Belgium’s most important opera composers. In De Kinderen der Zee (‘The Children of the Sea’), Lodewijk Mortelmans created a score that easily bears comparison with the work of his great contemporaries in its blend of Romantic realism, Wagnerian leitmotivs, and early impressionist tone-pictures. Exactly one hundred years after its premiere, La Monnaie unearths a hidden gem of Belgian opera in two concert performances featuring Alain Altinoglu and a select group of outstanding Dutch-language singers. A discovery!


In the lead-up to these performances, the Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek and the Labo XIX&XX research group is organising a study day that will look in detail at the life and work of Lodewijk Mortelmans. In addition to talks, there will be performances by students of the Conservatorium in Antwerp.

Program and cast

Conductor: ALAIN ALTINOGLU
Chorus master: JAN SCHWEIGER


Ivo Mariën: THOMAS BLONDELLE
Stella: TINEKE VAN INGELGEM
Geertrui: CHRISTIANNE STOTIJN
Petrus: WERNER VAN MECHELEN
Bolten: KURT GYSEN
Frederik: DENZIL DELAERE


La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra & chorus
La Monnaie Children's and Youth Choir & Choral Academy, led by Benoît Giaux
Octopus Kamerkoor, led by Bart Van Reyn


Production: DE MUNT / LA MONNAIE
Co-productionBOZAR MUSIC
With the support of: STICHTING MORTELMANS & STUDIECENTRUM VOOR VLAAMSE MUZIEK


In coproduction with Shelter Prod and Prospero MM Productions
With the support of taxshelter.be and ING
With the support of the tax shelter of the Belgian federal government

La Monnaie

The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie is an Opera house in Brussels, Belgium. Both of its names translate as Royal Theatre of the Mint.


Today the National Opera of Belgium, a federal institution, takes the name of the theatre in which it is housed. Therefore, la Monnaie or de Munt refers both to the structure as well as the opera company.


As Belgium's leading opera house it is one of the few cultural institutions which receives financial support from the federal government of Belgium. Other opera houses in Belgium, such as the Vlaamse Opera and the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, are funded by regional governments.

Johan Jacobs
© Lissyelle Laricchia
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