Cultural Compass: Stirring opera premiere, Heritage Day, international art fair and more

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

Opera house La Monnaie collaborates with the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) to present the world premiere of Ali, an opera and sensory experience with electronic music, voice, percussion, dance, string and wind instruments.

It tells the real-life story of Ali Abdi Omar, who fled Somalia and arrived in Brussels among hundreds of other migrants searching for a better future. The piece intends to spotlight the dangerous and desperate journey many migrants must make to find safety. 

“If you were born in Belgium, you can travel visa-free with your passport to approximately 84 per cent of the countries (191 out of 227) in the world,” the KVS says. “With a Somali passport, you can travel to only 16 per cent (36) of all countries in the world without a visa.” This limited run plays from 21-27 April.


Heritage Day offers over 900 free activities spread across Flanders on Sunday. FARO, the Flemish support centre for cultural heritage has organised this edition with a focus on the theme Home. The event asks what exactly home is and was. There will be countless opportunities to get to know Flemish cities and municipalities by viewing their archives, workshops, libraries, museums, theatres and much more.

Often, these spaces are closed to the public, making Heritage Day an excellent opportunity to see inside the buildings that make up Flanders.

From 25-28 April, the 40th edition of Art Brussels takes place at Brussels Expo, where more than 170 international galleries will present their artists. “Recognised as a premier platform for contemporary art, Art Brussels continues to evolve, innovate and inspire, celebrating four decades of artistic excellence, creativity and cultural dialogue,” the organisers says. In addition to the gallery offerings, the event will include daily live performances, book launches, lectures and discussions and a live DJ set.


A unique exhibition in Bruges opened this week and will run until the end of the year. Glory and Adversity of a 15th Century Traveller recounts the extensive journeys of Anselm Adornes. Born in 1424, this Renaissance man was a textile mogul, diplomat and confidant of the Burgundian court. In honour of his 600th birthday, an exhibition, series of lectures, concerts, and a book release will celebrate his life.

Inside the exhibition in Bruges’ Jerusalem Chapel, visitors can view objects from Adornes’ many journeys in the Middle East.

Belga has covered the upcoming Gaza fundraiser concert that will take place on Monday in Mechelen.

Afrika Film Festival ​
Jean-Michel Folon, A Journey in Brussels
Ombra and PUUR at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen
Jef Verheyen: Window on Infinity KMSKA
Paul Harbutt, Museum De Reede​
The Crystal Ship
Leaps of Faith, z33​
Rodin: A Modern Renaissance



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