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17-20 May 2012 - Hungarian Spirit

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In terms of Nobel laureates per square kilometre, Hungary probably ranks number one in the world. As the Hungarian proverb goes, the peppercorn is tiny, yet strong, and when it comes to Hungary it could be rephrased as a small country, but an intellectual powerhouse. This is because the Carpathian Basin is represented by outstanding figures not just in science, but also in various branches of art. A good number of the greatest 20th century musicians studied at the Liszt Academy of Music and went on to have brilliant international careers, and this tradition is reflected on stage at the Palace of Arts or the State Opera day by day. Hungary’s contribution to popular music is just as marked: stars from overseas always speak very highly of performing together with our jazz musicians, and the repertoire of musicals in Budapest rivals that of the most significant centres of music in Europe. And a similar ‘sight’ awaits us when we take a look at dance or photography; we see world class ‘Hungarian geniuses’ with an unmistakably Central-Eastern European appearance everywhere we look.
Palace of Arts - Budapest :: Hungarian State Opera :: Museum of Fine Arts :: Ludwig Museum :: Hungarian National Museum :: National Dance Theatre


Friday, 18 May 7.30 pm
Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Featuring: Leonidas Kavakos

Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

The Palace of Arts presents an eight-star concert comprising a star orchestra, star conductor and star soloist playing together in the five-star acoustic surroundings of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is the oldest symphony orchestra still performing in the world today. Over a long history stretching back to 1781, it has boasted musical directors of the stature of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Artúr Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Hermann Abendroth and Kurt Masur, the latter filling the position for almost three decades. Riccardo Chailly has led the ensemble since 2005 and has a contract running until 2015. The hallmark of his contribution over recent years has been a series of large-scale recordings such as the Schumann symphonies in arrangements by Mahler, the Brahms piano concertos, works by Bach and the symphonies of Beethoven. Guest artist Leonidas Kavakos scarcely needs introduction as we have already had the good fortune to welcome him to the Palace of Arts on several occasions. Suffice to say that he is one of the finest violinists of our times. He will play Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, a highly complex, large-scale composition that the composer dedicated to David Oistrakh and that was only premièred 7-8 years after its completion, following the death of Stalin. The interesting aspect of the Brahms work to be performed after the interval is that the main theme of the first movement returns in the fourth movement, bookending the composer’s shortest symphony with a tranquil epilogue.

Tickets: HUF 16900INFO: Palace of Arts




Thursday, 17 May
Bizet: Carmen

One of the most well-known and most adapted masterpieces of the opera repertoire. The story of Don Jose’s fatal, self-destructive love for the deceptive gipsy factory worker (Carmen) has gained its popularity for the Spanish musical influence though the composer was French. The opera is full of popular songs (the Toreador Song is world-famous). The Carmen adaptation of the Hungarian State Opera was directed by Miklós Szinetár.

Tickets: HUF 10500, 13000INFO: Hungarian State Opera




Friday, 18 May
Rachmaninov/Eifman: The Karamazovs

Dostoevsky's masterpiece is on stage again, coreographed by Boris Eifman. Eifman has reduced the sprawling novel to its bare essentials. He concentrated on passion and human emotions, using six principal characters, with the drunken, dissolute father in the center. The choreography demands athleticism and energy from the dancers, and the members of the Hungarian National Ballet definitely live up to the high expectations.

Tickets: HUF 10500, 13000INFO: Hungarian State Opera




29 March – 1 July 2012
The Birth of Modern Photography

Pictorialism is a milestone in the history of photography. Its aim was to attain autonomy for photography in the dispute of its artistic value by imitating painting, and considered as its models the Impressionist artists..
The greatest merit of the movement is raising photography to an artistic height. Due to the exotic printing processes the photographs, however, bore a striking resemblance to paintings. The excessive resemblance to painting illustrates the fact that the genre had not yet “found itself” in an aesthetic sense. As a response to these “deficiencies” Straight Photography appeared in the States in the 1920s, almost the same time as New Objectivity in Europe. Both styles aimed at creating a clear, objective visual language, breaking radically away from Pictorialist traditions.
Visitors to the exhibition will primarily be able to witness the transformation towards modern photography evolving around the First World War. The exhibition will display through works ranging from the first prominent publication of Pictorialism (1889) to the Film und Foto exhibition (1929) the change which took place in the space of approximately forty years.

Tickets: HUF 2200INFO: Museum of Fine Arts




The space of the image – An exhibition of János Megyik’s life-work
March 9 to June 10, 2012
This grandiose life-work exhibition intends to invoke János Megyik’s oeuvre – which can be defined along the borderline of painting-sculpture-architecture – based on the artist’s paintings, drawings, stick constructions, photograms, cardboard reliefs and the steel plates of his most recent period, along with his activity as an architect, through the representative enumeration of pieces created from the end of the fifties until today.

Combined admission: HUF 1800 / person
Combined admission to the highlighted exhibition (Robert Mapplethorpe) HUF 2200/person
Guided tours by preliminary arrangement: exclusive guided tours in English, German, French, Italian up to 10 persons: HUF 6000
Above 10 persons: HUF 600 / personINFO: Ludwig Museum




Saturday-Sunday 19-20 May
Museum May Days

Time is tight, but you are interested in countless museums? Then the Museum May Days in Budapest is an ideal choice in May. More than 100 museums present themselves right in the heart of the city, in the National Museum’s Gardens. Concerts, games, craftsmen, children’s programs, complemented by delicious food, drinks and sweets will all go to create a nice atmosphere.

Admission is free.INFO: Hungarian National Museum




Be Surrounded By A Thousand Years of History

You can immerse yourself in the thousand year history of the Magyars in Hungary’s grandest classicist palace. There are twenty richly appointed exhibition rooms where you can see the Byzantine Monomachos crown, Sigmund of Luxembourg’s finely decorated bone saddles, the clavichord Mozart took on the road, Beethoven and Liszt’s piano, Sissy’s dress and the tear the fatal knife stab left on it, and one of the mournful mementos of the 20th century – a piece of the ‘iron curtain’ from the border between East and West.

Admission, including guided tour: HUF 2700 / personINFO: Hungarian National Museum




Evenings at the Dance Theatre in the Heart of Buda’s Castle District

Castle Theatre is not only a World Heritage site but also a venue for all kinds of dance from folk dance to modern dance to tango, offering something for everyone in a wide palette of shows.
The Castle Theatre building is the only one of its kind built in the 18th Century in Hungary that is still used as an art venue. The former Carmelite Monastery was converted into a theatre and casino at the request of Joseph II. The works were carried out to the plans of Wolfgang von Kempelen, the designer of chess-playing automaton ‘The Turk’.
Before the show starts, visitors can take part in a rare walk behind the scenes, where they are introduced to the history of this old building.
(Subject to minimum attendance of 10)

Admission: free with a ticket to a performance, HUF 1,500 otherwise.

The National Dance Theatre offers more than just shows: the Gallery hosts the temporary exhibitions of excellent Hungarian artists, and the Kerengő Gallery welcomes visitors to regular photography exhibitions. • INFO: National Dance Theatre




Thursday, 17 May 7 pm
Hungarian State Folk Ensemble: Sun Legend
Festival Theatre of the Palace of Arts

It was an old dream come true for the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble when they encountered Nikola Parov’s music, which is fresh, dynamic and popular but also rich with ancient motifs. His ethno-music is one of a kind, using a saxophone, drums and brass instruments, and it is now accompanied on the stage by the most dynamic and powerful movements in Hungarian folk dancing, a veritable storm of dance.

This collaboration led to the birth of a creative dance theatre concept that is based on the essence of the musical and dance traditions of the region but whose spirit and vision is defined by the 21st Century. It uses the unique toolset of art to depict the cult of the Sun, the role it plays in our lives, the heavenly path it traverses, and its relation to the course and turning points of a human life.

Tickets: HUF 6000INFO: National Dance Theatre