In 1840, rich Ghent industrialists inaugurated a new, luxurious opera house, a showcase for their considerable, newly acquired wealth. It is a unique, L-shaped building featuring a concert room, a ball room, and a foyer on the first floor that form an enfilade of 90 metres and lead to the lavishly decorated auditorium behind them.
The opulent, harmonious interplay of architecture, painting and sculpture was carefully restored 1991–93, although the front rooms still feature a later colour scheme. The venue’s crowning glory is the impressive chandelier and the ceiling painted with trompe l’oeil effects. Today the theatre is one of two venues for the Antwerp-based Flemish opera company (Vlaamse Opera) offering opera and ballet as well as lunchtime concerts and international guest productions.