Marianna Venekei - László Velekei - Kristóf Várnagy / Béla Bartók


contemporary ballet 16

In Brief

Three one-act dance pieces in three parts


The Miraculous Mandarin, The Wooden Prince, Dance Suite

Performance length: , with 2 intermissions.

The works of Béla Bartók are impossible to miss from the repertoire of the ballet company, the orchestra, and the OPERA. The world premiere of The Wooden Prince more than a century ago was an undeniable milestone in the history of the Hungarian State Opera. The ballet reminiscent of fairy tales was reimagined for stage by László Velekei in spring 2023. The new productions of The Miraculous Mandarin evoking the bustle of a big city and Dance Suite inspired by folklore now make the triple bill Bartók DanceTriptych complete, the former staged by Marianna Venekei, the latter by Kristóf Várnagy.

Marianna Venekei / Béla Bartók


This production is part of the Bartók Dancetriptych triple bill which is available at the following link

Today we mostly find disturbing The Miraculous Mandarin, which is based on Menyhért Lengyel’s pantomime play full of erotica, sexuality and abuse. But at the time of its original premiere in Cologne, it was truly scandalous. Whether disturbing or scandalous, it is certainly an influential work, which travelled the world accordingly. It was played in numerous countries of Europe, America and Asia, and even in South Africa. In the 2023/24 season, this ballet is choreographed by Marianna Venekei, who explores the inner worlds of the characters and discovers the increasing depths of their personalities, combines past and present to find a way to reach a 21st-century audience while staying true to the music of Béla Bartók.
László Velekei / Béla Bartók


This production is part of the Bartók Dancetriptych triple bill which is available at the following link

“There is no date in the half-a-century history of our Opera House as important as the premier day of Béla Bartók’s first pantomime ballet The Wooden Prince on 12 May 1917. It was the first time that the Hungarian spirit, the genius of Vörösmarty, Petőfi and Ady’s nation was expressed in its true greatness and absolute authenticity in the music played in the Hungarian opera”, writes musicologist Aladár Tóth, who later became the director of the OPERA. The piece that has been part of the repertoire almost constantly in the 105 years passed since its original premier has been staged by several renowned choreographers. This mixture of a fairytale-like world of a forest and the realistically deep and human struggles of men and women, is brought to life in the 2022/23 season by László Velekei, ballet director of Győr Ballet.

Kristóf Várnagy / Béla Bartók

DANCE SUITE (Premiere)

This production is part of the Bartók Dancetriptych triple bill which is available at the following link

It was 100 years ago that Béla Bartók's Dance Suite was premiered, along with Zoltán Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus and Ernő Dohnányi's Festival Overture, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the unification of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda. "My Dance Suite to be performed consists of five parts (...) Each of the five dances has an original, folklike, but non-folk theme, and instead of a break between each dance I have used a small orchestral interlude. (...) the aim of the whole work was to present some idealised peasant music, I might even say some poetic peasant music alongside one another, but in such a way that each movement of the work presents certain specific musical types. The peasant music of all kinds of nationalities was used as a model: Hungarian, Oláh, Slovak, even Arabic; and here and there even a mixture of all these types', writes Bartók about his work. The Hungarian opera stage is not complete without Bartók's theatrical works, and even his other works that also function excellently as ballet music, such as Dance Suite. The production is choreographed by Kristóf Várnagy, who is a performer and artistic manager of Recirquel, who has worked with the Royal Swedish Ballet, the FrenÁk Company, and Cirque du Soleil.


"A key element to the success of this programme was the contribution of the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra (...). From the Mandarin’s spiky modernism, to the more lush harmonies of The Wooden Prince to the joyous folk-inspired sounds in Dance Suite, the musicians contributed a wealth of experience in this repertoire that would be hard to be matched anywhere else."

Gianmarco Segato, Bachtrack