Budapest (MTI) – The Hungarian State Opera will close 2014 with a record high number of visitors, performances and ticket sales revenue for the past 25 years, Director General Szilveszter Okovacs told MTI in an end-of-year interview.
“The number of visitors paying for a ticket was over 550,000 and through public media broadcasts of opera-related content, the Budapest Opera has reached at least one million people,” he said.
The number of programmes was around 2,000 including guided tours of the Opera House and this altogether marks a two-fold increase over the past three years, Okovacs added.
He said that programmes at the Opera House-managed Erkel Theatre, which reopened after refurbishment at the end of 2013, also contributed to 2014’s success.
The Budapest Opera’s outstanding event this year was the Richard Strauss Festival in May-June, which paid tribute to the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
By putting on stage six of Strauss’s operas “we embarked on a mission that even German theatres that are instrumental in performing Strauss works had not considered on the anniversary,” Okovacs said.
He said that the highlight production was the Woman without a Shadow, that took three years to prepare. The other five operas included Arabella, Salome, Ariadne on Naxos, the Knight of the Rose and Elektra.
The festival closed with a concert performed by the Opera House’s Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Steinberg, who arrived in Budapest to take up his assignment as BFTZ’s chairman-conductor in February.
Among other highlights Okovacs noted guest performances in the theaters of major Hungarian cities outside Budapest, as well as performances by the Hungarian National Ballet, that attracted 110,000 visitors.
Concerning finances, Okovacs said that beside own revenues the Budapest Opera received this year 7,6 billion forints (EUR 24m) and the Erkel Theatre 1.1 billion forints in state support.