The Opera organizes its grand event of integrated arts entitled Faust Ball on 14 February 2015. Similar to the first ball in 2014 entitled Silver Rose Ball, its main mission is a charitable cause: the guests contribute to the purchase of an ambulance for the Hungarian National Emergency Ambulance Service. Special guest of the ball is international superstar soprano Angela Gheorghiu.
Angela Gheorghiu began her international career at the Royal Opera in London. She made her debut at Covent Garden in 1992 as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In fact, following a successful audition, she turned down director Peter Katona’s offer for her to sing Mimi in La bohème stating she felt it too early to sing. Later, when her voice and personality matured to this Puccini heroine, she achieved considerable success with it, and it became one of her emblematic roles. Real popularity came to her in 1994 as Violetta in Verdi’s Traviata under the musical direction of Sir Georg Solti. It is by no means a coincidence that she mentions the maestro first when asked about Hungarian opera. “He was my first and most important colleague in the international world of opera.”
This beautiful woman with willpower is a fighter who grew up in the Ceauşescu era. What it meant in spite of successes achieved as a secondary school student, voice recordings and TV appearances does not need a lot of explanation for those with a little knowledge about those years. However, it gives an explanation to her self-esteem. Looking at her photos, the first to notice are those dark, fiery eyes. She demands respect and she is mysterious. Sensitive and sensual. These adjectives describe her stage roles perfectly that is why she is closest to the emotionally most intensive genre, the opera as well as those ruthlessly outspoken, extreme and tragic characters such as the above mentioned Mimi and Tosca, or Adriana Lecouvreur, Violetta, Juliette, Manon, Carmen, Lucrezia Borgia and Marguerite.
Angela Gheorghiu is incredibly dramatic and incredibly elegant both as a singer and in her private life. She is not a classic but at the same time not an irregular beauty. She is a mature, self-confident, feminine woman, who deserves to be among the one hundred most beautiful females. She is a proud owner of several prestigious awards and titles. Recently she was awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Cluj-Napoca. On receiving it she said: “I believe deeply in the importance of culture and education, these are the core of human evolution, civilization and development.” Her voice and acting are recorded on numerous prize-winning DVDs and CDs, among which her album published to honour the memory of Maria Callas is a real gem. Angela Gheorghiu makes her Hungarian debut at the Faust Ball.
Principal patron of the Ball: dr. Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Patrons of the event are internationally renowned Hungarian scientists: Professor Sir George Radda, biochemist, Professor Emeritus of Oxford University, Emeritus Fellow of Merton College Oxford, founding director of Singapore Bioimaging Consortium; Dr. János Frühling oncologist, eternal first secretary of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Dr. Balázs Gulyás neurobiologist, professor of Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The Faust Ball is connected to the Faust Season of the Hungarian State Opera commemorating the 225th anniversary of the first publication of Goethe’s Faust – A Fragment.
The mission of the ball is to provide the opportunity for significant personalities of the nation, renowned public and business people, artists, as well as internationally acclaimed figures of sciences, our prominent partner community of 2015, to meet in a noble cause.
Professional advisor of the ball is Ákos Gózon, science journalist, winner of the Academy Prize and the Endre Hevesi Award, has been the editor-in-chief of the Hungarian science journal Élet és Tudomány (Life and Science), as well as the production office manager of the Hungarian Television. The visual concept of the ball is designed by the best-known stylist of Hungary, Márk Lakatos.
Similar to last year’s event, the gala is directed by Ferenc Anger, artistic director of the Hungarian State Opera, and Tamás Solymosi, director of the Hungarian National Ballet. The programme features principal dancers of the Hungarian National Ballet, as well as conductors Péter Halász, music director of the Hungarian State Opera, and István Silló, conductor of Alles Walzer. Prior to the gala, audiences of the ball room can enjoy the Opera Big Band, after 10 p.m. the Cotton Club Singers, Myrtill & Swinguistique, Marót Viki and the Nova Kultúr Band and Pátkai Rozina Quintet.
In the intimate atmosphere of the Székely Bertalan Parlour, Norbert Bogdán and Béla Rózsa, students of the Snétberger Music Talent Centre give a concert, followed by the piano recital of 17-year-old Mihály Berecz. The development of the young pianist is mentored by such a renowned figure as Zoltán Kocsis, under whose direction he was a soloist of Piano Concerto in G major by Ravel. Further programmes feature stand-up comedian András Péter Kovács, jazz band Mrs. Columbo, and magician Soma Hajnóczy. Jazz at dawn is performed by Tálas Áron Trio. In different rooms of the Opera House, guests are awaited by DJ Bootsie, an exhibition of inventions, and a Poker Robot.
Programme of the gala:
Boito: Mefistofele (fanfare)
Berlioz: Rákóczi March – Entry of scientists and alchemists
Gounod: Faust-Walzer – Entry of debutantes and beaus (choreographer: Tamás Solymosi)
Hungarian National Anthem
Address of the Principal Patron
Erkel: Palotás – students of the Hungarian Dance Academy
Gounod: Faust – Jewel Song (Angela Gheorghiu)
Gounod: Faust – Rondo (Krisztián Cser)
Puccini: Gianni Schicchi – Lauretta’s aria (Angela Gheorghiu)
Gounod: Faust – Walpurgis night
Agustín Lara: Granada (Angela Gheorghiu)
The Dalszínház StreetBall organized next to the Opera House is free to be joined by anyone from 4 p.m. until midnight. Music is provided by DJ Bootsie, Ghana-born Sena, and the Balogh Tamás Quintet. From 9 p.m., the gala is projected on a big screen live, and donations are also welcome there. In the following morning, disadvantaged children are the guests of the ballroom for the “Breadcrumb Ball”, where they can see Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera: Hansel and Gretel.
Further information is available on the microsite of the ball: www.faustbal.hu.