Zoltán Kodály

Háry János


Singspiel in two parts, in Hungarian
Four adventures bearing little resemblance to reality during the Napoleonic Wars, all based on folk music and presented by an old veteran. Title Character sacrifices career for sweetheart, choosing Örzse and the provincialism of Nagyabony over the Imperial Palace in Vienna.
Prologue: In the village of Nagyabony, the regulars gather at the inn to hear the aged veteran János Háry tell his stories. The judge, the student and a few farmers sit down to sip wine and listen to the old man's stories, which many of them take with more than one pinch of salt. Adventure I: Háry stands guard on the Austrian frontier. The Austrian border guard refuses to allow anyone to cross over from the other side, including Marie Louise, the daughter of Emperor Franz, and her retinue – with Baron Ebelasztin among them, as well as the coachman Marci, driver of the imperial coach. Háry, together with the other Hungarians, pushes the guardhouse into Austrian territory. Adventure II: In Vienna's Burghof, Háry succeeds in taming Lucifer, the most unbreakable steed in the imperial stables. As a reward, Marie Louise gives him a violet. Baron Ebelasztin, stricken with jealousy, exercises the authority given to him by Napoleon to present the Emperor of Austria with a declaration of war. Adventure III: Hussars are encamped below Milan castle. Napoleon attacks, but his forces fall before a single wave of Háry's sword. Napoleon himself is taken prisoner. Marie Louise arrives: she wants Háry for her husband instead of Napoleon. Örzse appears, and is unwilling to part with her betrothed. Adventure IV: In the Viennese court, Háry and Marie Louise are getting ready for their wedding. The little princes tell Háry what they've learned in school. The court marches in. Háry doesn't want Marie Louise's hand or a princely title. Instead he wants to return to Nagyabony, the village of his birth, together with Örzse. Epilogue: in the inn at Nagyabony, Háry reaches the end of his story, which relates how the lovers held a big wedding and lived happily together until poor Örzse passed away. This meant that no witness remained who could verify Háry's tale. But none was needed, either, for “no one on earth is as valiant/as our Uncle Háry was!”
Photographer: Herman Péter

General cast

Conductor
Balázs Kocsár / Ádám Medveczky
Háry János
Antal Cseh / Zsolt Haja
Old Háry
László Csurka
Örzse, Háry János's fiancée
Atala Schöck / Erika Gál
Emperor Franz / Judge
Tamás Szalma
The Empress
Zita Váradi / Mária Farkasréti
Napoleon / The Innkeeper
Zoltán Bátki Fazekas / András Habetler
Marie Louise
Éva Várhelyi / Erika Markovics
Baron Ebelasztin
Jenő Dékán / János Szerekován
Old Marci
Gábor Németh / László Szvétek
General Krucifix
Donáth Szamosi
A Hungarian Guard
Tamás Szmerek
Burkus, a guard
Tamás Vass
A Student
Balázs Csémy

Kodály Zoltán: HÁRY JÁNOS /Erkel Színház/