The 43rd Budapest Spring Festival, to be held from 20 April to 2 May, will offer 50 programmes at 30 locations, organisers told a press conference on Wednesday.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony said at the briefing that the festival would celebrate the unification of Budapest 150 years ago.
“This year’s festival holds a mirror up to us, confronts us with challenges…” he said.
Csaba Faix, head of the organiser Budapest Brand Zrt, said the programmes include concerts, dance and non-conventional theatre performances, literary and art programmes and fashion shows.
Karácsony said the festival had been “given back” to Budapest, and now the city “no longer has to finance it but has the freedom to fill it with content”.
“Culture adds the greatest diversity to a city or country not by looking back to the past but to the future and probing its barriers, reflecting on social, political and ecological issues,” Karácsony said, adding this year’s programme would be “braver”.
Faix noted that events would include Péter Závada’s SZX_MCHN staged at the Alterego Club, a gay bar, a play “about sexuality, telling the stories of ourselves and of friends accompanied by music matching the genius locii”. The theme of the play will also surface in a photo exhibition dubbed One-Others in the TOBE art gallery, as well as in a literary soiree with readings from the works of Ádam Nádasdy, Réka Borda, and Mónika Ferencz.
The festival will offer an opportunity to mark different anniversaries, such as the 20th of the opening of popular Gödör Klub, the 40th birth anniversary of Katona József Theatre, the centenary of composer György Ligeti and the 120th anniversary of scientist János Neumann.
Music programmes will include a Haydn-Ligeti-Beethoven concert by the Budapest Sound Collective with Spanish and Australian soloists at the Academy of Music. The Budapest Festival Orchestra will be in concert at the Budapest Conference Centre, while Jazzfest Budapest will feature such performers as Lizz Wright, the Kasia Pietrzko Trio and the Nico Morelli Trio.
Budapest’s central Madách Square will be turned into an open-air dance hall for the time of the festival.