Located on the famous Andr√°ssy Boulevard, the Budapest Opera was financed by the Austrian-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph I, whose only condition was that it wasnīt to be bigger than the Vienna Opera. Designed by the Hungarian architect Mik√≥s Ybi, it was built between 1875 and 1884, surrounded by a great expectation.
Finally, it was inaugurated on September 27th 1884 with the presence of the emperor Franz Joseph I and in the midst of huge pomp and ceremony. Unexpectedly, the event ended with a small scandal when the crowd that had gathered outside tried to jump the security barriers to admire the building from inside. Even though it is not one of the biggest, it is considered one of the most beautiful ones with the best acoustics in the world, beaten only by La Scala in Milan and the Palais Garnier in Paris.
The bulding, of neo-renaissance style, also has baroque elements. The main facade is decorated with the statues of the best composers in the world, such as Mozart, Verdi and Beethoven. In front of the building thereīs the statue of Ferenc Erkel, composer of the Hungarian National Anthem and the first musical director of the Opera. The other statue is of Franz Liszt, the most famous Hungarian composer of all time. In the main entrance, two impressive stone¬†sphinxes stand next to two forged steel lamps.
Once inside, we come across an impressive hall with a huge marble double staircase with grey columns that support the arches. It has three floors, which hold almost 1300 people and that are decorated with paintings and sculptures of some of the great Hungarian artists of all time, such as Bertalan Sz√©kely, M√≥r Than and K√°roly Lotz. On the ceiling we can see impressive frescos made by K√°roly Lotz, which represent the Olymp. And in the centre, the crown jewel, the spectacular spider lamp.
On its stage important artists have performed, such as Ren√©e Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Montserrat Caball√©, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Jos√© Cura, Thomas Hampson and Juan Diego Fl√≥rez. Among the Hungarian artists,¬†√Čva Marton, Ilona Tokody, Andrea Rost, D√©nes Guly√°s, Attila Fekete and G√°bor Bretz.
To visit this impressive building, there are two options: go on a guided tour or attend one of the shows. The guided tours take place daily at 3pm and 4pm, and there you can see everything, from the very top to the balconies, as well as learning about many interesting things and some anecdotes. The tours are in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Hungarian, and last around 45 minutes. The price is of 2800 forints (10‚ā¨), 1400 forints (5‚ā¨) for students and a free entry for children under the age of 6.
Another option is to attend one of the opera or ballet shows that take place throughout the season, which goes on from September to June. There are shows almost every day and tickets are very cheap, costing between 2‚ā¨ and 50‚ā¨ per person. The cheapest tickets donīt enjoy a lot of visibility but even so they are worth buying just so appreciate the Budapest Opera in all of its splendor.¬†
Even if youīre not an opera fan, a visit to this famous temple of music is a must when you spend a few days in apartments in Budapest.
We have to acknowledge that this quartet called Il Divo is one of those creations of the postmodern industry that works not only due to all the marketing operation that surrounds it but also because of the musical quality of its members. Grouped, without previous contact, by Sony Records, Il Divo answers not only to a contemporary version (a sweetened one, perhaps) of classical music but also to an elegant way of performing art.
Composed by very young tenors and baritones from all over the world (Urs B√ľhler from Switzerland, Carlos Mar√≠n from Spain, S√©bastian Izambard from France and David Miller from the USA), theyīve already sold over 25 million copies and have had released a dozen albums. Anyhow, these prodigies that take us back to the golden era of Frank Sinatra will be performing live on the 20th of September at Arena Budapest, that arena that can organize anything from a basketball match to a performance of the Cirque du Soleil or even a big concert, such as the Il Divo one.
Despite that theyīre practically bringing nothing new, theyīre still a sales hit. As it happens, the songs are taken from classical opera repertoires or from classic popular songs from many countries, without counting the songs from the sacred Christian¬†liturgies¬†that can be found sporadically in their albums. Also, the idea isnīt new because something similar was done by Luciano Pavarotti with his famous īThree Tenorsī concerts, where he was joined by Josep Carreras and Pl√°cido Domingo. And, if Il Divo will allow me to say so, those were true prodigious and gifted voices, especially the Italian one, so powerful and beautiful that it reconciled you with humanity.¬†
However, it seems that itīs precisely that theyīre not a novelty that makes them successful. The public of this relatively new 21st century, sometimes, goes for acknowledgment rather than novelty and, also, theyīre hungry for art that reaches directly to the heart without unnecessary experimentations. And so, they achieve happiness in its most pure state, without intermediaries, with the songs of yesteryear and today, with the chords that have been playing for decades. If you want a taste of Il Divo, I suggest that you watch the video that weīve attached to the end of this article.
Budapest, aside from its unquestionable inherited artistic legacy, is a city thatīs all for all possible festivals, and its concert offer is truly unbelievable. In spring, you can enjoy one of the most highly-awaited festivals, the predictably labelled Spring Festival, or the open-air classic film cycle Belv√°rosi Filmv√≠kend, but in autumn, the offer continues with frenetic musical activity. Visit this beautiful city on the shores of the Danube and attend the concert of Il Divo, which will coincide with an excellent exhibition at the Ludwig Museum called īThe hero, the heroine and the authorī.
Also, donīt leave home without having booked apartments in Budapest. The city shines divinely with the golden lights of autumn. The problem will come when you have to go back to your everyday life.
From the 12th July to the 9th of August, Budapest is experiencing one of the most acclaimed parties for its residents and tourists, this is Vajdahunyadvar Sumer Music Festival in Budapest, held in the courtyard of the Vajdahunyadvar castle. This festival has a great agenda that includes classical, swing, klezmer and gypsy music to enliven the summer evenings.
The functions are performed on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning at 20:30 hours. Prices range between 10 ‚ā¨ and 20 ‚ā¨ depending on the specific program. This yearīs program includes a violin and piano concert by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Vivaldi, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, baroque music, contemporary klezmer, gypsy music and zarzuela.
Music is a very important part of Hungarian culture. Just think back to the Romantic composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt, as well as the pianist, composer, researcher and founder of the etno music, B√©la Bart√≥k, two major musicians who belong from the special bond between life and love for music, which is always present in the Hungarian culture.
This special love for music has its origins directly linked to the gypsy people, as you will be able to discover in the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt written between 1846 and 1885. The Hungarian Rhapsodies are nineteen piano compositions that have versions for orchestra and for duets, in which Liszt music studied the jumps between tones, the absolute freedom of his music and his ability to feel and write his own notes.
B√©la Bart√≥k is one of the essential figures of contemporary music and the greatest Hungarian genius. Bart√≥k earlier disclaimed from romanticism and took the sounds of music that manages to collect in a rudimentary phonograph, during his research in remote villages, where he sought the origins of Hungarian music. Then, he expanded his research to the Slovak, Romanian, Arabic and Turkish music, and included them in his compositions.
Zolt√°n Kod√°ly is also one of the most interesting musicians of Hungary. His music evolved from the post-Romanticism to the search for new colors in the regional music of Hungary and Romania, which merges with complex mixes in his compositions. He worked with Bart√≥k in the research of traditional music, while collecting more than 100 thousand songs. In 1907 he joined the Franz Liszt Academy as Professor, teaching music theory and composition.
These great men of the musical world music represent the special sensitivity of the Hungarians that will stay in the memory of those attending this summer event, which this year brings the best representatives of the music, and for the program Fugata and Orchestra, which has as artistic director Bal√°zs Alp√°r with Veronika Harcza in voice and Mikl√≥s Szenthelyi.
Also, there will be the Chamber Orchestra and the Virtuosi Hungarians by the artistic director and violin soloist Mikl√≥s Szenthelyi with L√°szl√≥ Nyari, Mako Brigitta and T√ľnde Mak√≥, who will be playing Vivaldi to close the festival.
For more information: http://www.vajdahunyad.hu/english.asp
Music is great therapy, it helps to calm the spirit and gladden the soul. For this and other reasons, renting apartments in Budapest is the best idea for the summer, there you will be able to enjoy this traditional and unique festival.
The Budapest Summer Festival will be held on Margarita Island in the Danube on the 22nd of July. This year, the festival will host the scenic cantata Carmina Burana. This dance show will be performed on a stage full of magic, with a huge set that harmonizes with the natural environment of the place.
This show is directed by the choreographer Tom√°s Juronics with the collaboration of Szegedi Kort√°rs from Szeged Contemporary Ballet. The outstanding director Hollerung G√°bor, who together with a selection of the best performers and dancers will complete the staging, will lead the Budafoki Donh√°nyi Orchestra.
Every year, the Budapest Summer Festival offers a wide range of activities for people of all ages. An outdoor festival to enjoy in August.
Among the outstanding shows of this season, there are a great variety of jazz concerts with the best European bands, ranging from classical to pop genres. Liszt and Los Miserables will also be on stage performing the best of their music.
Carmina Burana is a collection of Goliard songs, dedicated to the pleasure to live, to the carnal pleasure and the joy that nature gives us, satirizing religious and social conventions that were written in the twelfth and thirteenth century. In 1935, the German composer of the neoclassicism, Carl Orff made music with some of these poems.
Carmina Burana is part of the trilogy of cantatas called Trionfi, which are based on Latin texts, among which Orff chose 25 poems to make music of them. It is said that Orff took some pitches and rhythms of Stravinskyīs Wedding, or at least that was his base of inspiration for Carmina Burana.
Carmina Burana first performance was in 1937, a year after it was finished. Its success led Orff to be one of the favorite musicians of the Nazi regime, to the point that he was assigned to make the incidental music of Dream A Midsummer Night after the banning Felix Mendelssohn‚Äôs music.
This relationship between Orff and the Nazi regime opened a fierce debate about the characteristics of the music and texts chosen for Carmina Burana. Orff was accused by the Resistance of composing racist music.
During the post War, Orff was investigated by a commission created for the denazification of Germany and was about to lose the rights to Carmina Burana. Despite its collaboration with the regime, Orff was cleared by U.S. authorities claimed responsibility and, interestingly, anti nazi.
Despite all this history surrounding the creator of this musical work, Carmina Burana is considered one of the most beautiful scenic cantatas.
Spending a weekend on Margarita Island is priceless, so rent apartments in Budapest and have fun in the outdoor concerts in the midst of the most beautiful nature. You can get there by public transport or tourist yachts.
Translated by: Hans
On the 25th of March, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra will commemorate the birthday of Hungarian musician Bel√° Bart√≥k, as part of the Budapest Festival. The event pays homage to the great musician, and his cultural legacy, and the contribution to Hungarian music he made through his exploration of the folkloric music of his country, which made him a key figure of contemporary music, as well as the founder of ethnomusic.
Bel√° Bart√≥k of Szuhafo was born in Nagyszentmikl√≥s – the then part of Hungary which is today the Romanian Sannicolau Mare – in 1881. The son of a farmer and governess, he was moved around a lot as a child, after the death of his father – an experience which affected him profoundly, creating in him a strong sense of affinity with the sounds of folk music, and popular music which would go on to mark his profession and personal life.
His interest in the sad sounds of gypsy music took him to study at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, where he specialised in piano and composition. His first steps into the musical profession were to give piano concerts, and in 1905 he entered the prestigious Rubenstein piano competition, but was beaten by German pianist Wilhelm Backhaus. His interests soon turned towards composition inspired by Hungarian folk music.
Along with Zolt√°n Kod√°ly, he began to study folkloric music passionately. The two set out on a journey with the basic equipment of an old phonograph and lined paper, with which they were going to record the sounds and popular styles of different villages. The influence of this project on his own work turned out to be immeasurable – it came to define his style, and allowed him to break away from the previous romantic music tradition, particularly that represented by Liszt, Brahms and Richard Strauss, musicians who he had initially sought to imitate.
Bart√≥k revolutionalised contemporary music, and inspired new waves of musical creativity and experimentation during the first half of the 20th century, which up until that point had been based around the neo-classic styles of Stravinski. His musical works were a point of departure, towards a new, more original style, away from the grand concert halls, which was more experimental. This interest in new sounds took him beyond Hungarian folk music, and into investigations of the popular music of Slovakia, Romania, Turkey and the Arabic world.
He was a piano teacher, and co-director of the Budapest Music Academy, until in 1934 when he abandoned his duties in order to explore ethnomusic, perform recitals, and follow his creative instincts.
The Second World War forced him to take refuge in the United States, where Bartok encountered serious economic problems, made only worse by the leukemia which would eventually kill him. In spite of his tireless work, he left behind various incomplete compositions, such as Concerto for Piano N¬ļ 3 and Concerto for viola.
Budapest is music, joy, vast monuments and history, which is why the wonderful music festival cannot be missed if you are visiting Hungary. Rent one of the apartments in Budapest and complete the experience.
Translated by: Poppy