Cultural Compass: Mozart in Brussels, city of music and more

Exhibitions, music, architecture, books, festivals… this is Belga English's pick of cultural activities in Flanders and Brussels, published every Sunday.

From 17 to 23 June, Brussels will be filled with the enchanting compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the city hosts the eighth edition of the Midsummer Mozartiade. This festival, centred on the Théâtre Royal des Galeries in the historic Galeries Royale Saint-Hubert, promises a week of rich cultural experiences and musical excellence.

A highlight of the festival is the rare production of Mozart's first opera seria, Mitridate, re di Ponto, written when he was just 14. This opera weaves a narrative of geopolitical strife, familial conflict and romantic turbulence, set in the historical region of Crimea, making it remarkably relevant to contemporary audiences.

Complementing the main performances are various free events around the city, including open-air serenades by young musicians and lectures on the evolution of opera, creating a vibrant cultural tapestry that honours Mozart’s genius.


During Brussels' Fête de la Musique, the city will become a music hub from 20 to 23 June with an array of concerts and events across parks, squares and halls. Cinquantenaire park will be the epicentre of this musical extravaganza, featuring a diverse lineup including Doria D, Eosine and La Femme, spanning genres from rap to classical music.

Outdoor stages and museum spaces in the park will host a range of performances. For those interested in hands-on musical experiences, the Grab The Beat workshop at Poisson sans Bicyclette on 20 June offers a chance to learn the art of hit-making. The Marolles district also comes alive with Afropean sounds and vibrant pop performances, while the Grand Hospice in the Béguinage district presents soul and R&B, enriched by various artisanal stands and exhibitions.

©Fête de la Musique
©Fête de la Musique

The final day of Fête de la Musique culminates with an afternoon devoted to choral singing in Let's Zing Ensemble, presented by the Belgian National Orchestra, Bozar and La Monnaie. From 13.30 to 15.45, attendees can immerse themselves in the Chœur Cassandra Choir’s extensive choir trail, filled with concerts and workshops.

The day’s highlight is a collaborative singing concert at 16.30, featuring new compositions inspired by Brussels, performed by the Young Belgian Strings, Belgian National Orchestra members and the Orchestra Academy. This unique repertoire, conducted by Dirk Brossé and Dirk Van de Moortel, showcases the city's cultural and musical diversity, inviting audiences to explore new musical horizons. The event underscores the power of choral music to unite and inspire, making it a fitting conclusion to the festival.


Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will host a musical dialogue between Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen for two performances only. On 22 June, the concert will take place in Ghent’s De Bijloke Muziekcentrum and on 23 June in Antwerp’s Queen Elisabeth Hall. Beethoven's Ninth, renowned for its Ode to Joy, is a timeless anthem of hope and unity, envisioning a world free from hatred and conflict.


This symphony, with its jubilant chorus, continues to inspire audiences with its idealistic vision of humanity. In stark contrast, Strauss' Metamorphosen, composed in the aftermath of World War II, is a sombre reflection on the devastation and loss experienced during the war. Together, these works offer a powerful contrast of optimism and melancholy, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit through music.

Additional cultural coverage from Belga this week includes: New app brings Ghent's history to life with augmented reality, ‘Totem pole’ sculpture by famous Spanish artist inaugurated in Leuven

​​Ongoing events

Willy Vanderperre at FOMU
Come Closer, Middleheim
Old Paper? Photo Paper from the Gevaert Archive​
​5,000 cultural objects from the DR Congo, MAS​

​Josef and Anni Albers
Jean-Michel Folon, A Journey in Brussels ​
​Jef Verheyen: Window on Infinity KMSKA ​​
​Rodin: A Modern Renaissance




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