The Hungarian State Opera welcomes audiences to two premières and numerous successful productions which are in its repertoire again. The choice includes light and dramatic operas as well as dance compositions by the Hungarian National Ballet.
The highlights of the first quarter of 2011
Verdi’s historical opera I vespri siciliani on stage again from January. The world première of I vespri siciliani was held at the Paris opera house in 1855, and the Budapest National Theatre included it in its programme hardly a year later. The Hungarian audiences warmly welcomed it, not only because of “Verdi’s glittering music” as contemporary reviewers enthused, but also because during the years after the defeated Hungarian War of Independence of 1848/1849 everybody was more sensitive to historical conflicts between oppressors and the oppressed. This version of the opera was premièred at the Hungarian Opera House in 2009 staged by German director Matthias von Stegmann.
Così fan tutte
Audiences can enjoy Mozart’s popular comic opera featuring two young artists from 21 January. Guglielmo’s role will be sung by Zsolt Haja, a singer in his mid-20s, who won second prize at the Armel Opera Competition last year, and Viktória Mester will appear as Dorabella after singing several main roles with great success.
Back after three years: The Queen of Spades
His diary and correspondence reveal that Tchaikovsky became overwhelmed by emotions in the world of passion in Pikovaja dama (The Queen of Spades) while he was composing it. He shed tears when putting down Lisa’s arioso in Act III, and cried when composing Hermann’s farewell aria. The opera has not been performed in Budapest since 2007. From 28 January, this exciting piece is to be staged in an almost entirely new cast under the baton of Director of Music György Győriványi Ráth on six occasions. Dates and casts of performances can be found at opera.hu. From 5 February Hermann’s role will be sung by Badri Maisuradze, principal dramatic tenor with the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre.
Wagner three times
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg will be performed on 6, 9 and 12 February. The production is directed by Attila Vidnyánszky and conducted by Ádám Medveczky. Béla Perencz, István Berczelly, Péter Kálmán, András Molnár and Mónika González will sing the main roles.
Those who missed the first première of this season at the Opera House can enjoy Boito’s opera Mefistofele in February. The impressive set design is the work of Csaba Antal. The production is directed by Balázs Kovalik and conducted by János Kovács. For dates and the new cast click here.
Two premieres in March
Excelsior! Franz Liszt Going to Heaven – half-serious opera in one act.
The première of Gyula Fekete’s opera is the fruit of collaboration between the Hungarian State Opera, the Thália Theatre and the Budapest Spring Festival. Director and set designer: Péter Gothár; costume designer: Nóra Bujdosó; conductor: Gergely Kesselyák. Click here for the cast.
Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth directed by Miklós Szinetár from 22 March. Set designer: Péter Horgas, costume designer: Rita Velich, conductor: György Győriványi Ráth. The title role will be sung by Alexandru Agache; Gyöngyi Lukács will appear as the Lady and Péter Fried as Banquo.
Erika Miklósa with Juan Pons in Don Pasquale
World-famous baritone Juan Pons, a return guest from the New York Metropolitan and Alessandro Codeluppi will join Erika Miklósa on stage on 19 and 26 March. The performances will be events of the Budapest Spring Festival. Conductor: Balázs Kocsár.
The preceding performances of the Donizetti opera will be conducted by Henrik Nánási; on 1 March István Horváth will debut in Ernesto’s role with Levente Molnár, Zita Váradi and József Mukk.
Onegin series to begin in March
A series of six performances of one of the most beautiful of Tchaikovsky’s operas is to begin on 24 March. The title role will be sung by Levente Molnár, a young Hungarian baritone who will be returning to his country from theatres abroad. Attila Fekete, Tünde Frankó and Erika Gál will sing the other main roles. Conductor: János Kovács, director: Balázs Kovalik.
The programme of the Hungarian National Ballet
A spectacular performance: La Bayadère. Ballet lovers can enjoy Slava Muchamedov’s composition with Edit Zeke’s set design and Rita Velich’s exotic costumes on six nights from 3 February. The Karamazovs - Boris Eifman created choreography for Dostoyevsky’s famous story. The ballet has achieved great success since its première in 2010.
Programmes for children and students in the first quarter of 2011
The young ones can enjoy the story of the two tailors in György Ránki’s children’s opera The King’s New Clothes on 6 and 12 February for the last time in the season. Conductor László Bartal will be conducting on stage. On 6 March charity performances will be held: the children invited can enjoy Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in interactive environment, almost as if they were sitting among the singers. Students can get acquainted with the story of Bánk bán on the operatic stage – the production is directed by Imre Kerényi and conducted by Domonkos Héja.
For all age-groups
La fille mal gardée performed by the Hungarian National Ballet on 23, 26 and 29 January.
Die Zauberflöte – the Opera House invites families to its popular series at the Vígszínház Theatre. László Marton’s direction presents this eternal tale to today’s audiences.
Concerts of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra
The orchestra gives five concerts at the Opera House in the first quarter of 2011. On 24 and 25 January Mozart’s Symphony in G minor and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde will be performed at the Opera House. The programme for 21 and 22 February: Schubert: Rosamunde incidental music; R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier - waltz; Ravel: Bolero; Carnival surprise. Featuring the National Choir; conductor: János Kovács.