Budapest is an ideal travel destination, especially if you love music. The Hungarian capital perfectly combines its rich musical history involving world-renown composers like Franz Liszt or Ferenc Erkel with the modern-day musical scene, whether it is small concerts in ruin pubs or the famous Sziget festival. Today, we focus on the lovers of classical music and help them out with this list of the best concert halls in Budapest.
Hungarian State Opera House
The opera house in Budapest must be featured on any list involving classical music. It was built based on the plans of Miklós Ybl, a leading architect of the 19th century, and it is a prime example of the Neo-Renaissance style, with some added Baroque features. It is a true match of the opera house in Vienna which it was designed to rival. One of its greatest features is the grand chandelier that, according to CNN,
“weighs three tons and almost three kilograms of gold was used to gild the cherubs and nymphs of its sumptuously ornate interior.”
Classic and modern pieces are on the agenda alike, and you can enjoy the acoustics of the place as well as the performance of the many talented singers and musicians. Sitting in on a ballet play is also an experience you will not regret.
It is important to note that the building of the opera house under renovation until 2020, but you can still go on tours inside, while the performances are held in Erkel Theatre.
The Erkel Theatre was opened in 1911, dubbed the ‘People’s Opera’ back then. It has been the State Opera’s second performance venue since 1951, and it has gone under many rounds of renovation over the years, so there is not much left from the original design. The exterior now mirrors the 1950s, while the interior shows an exceptional Art Deco-style simplicity, where the light walls are contrasted with dark wood.
It is definitely worth a visit, both for the fantastic performances and for the excellent acoustics.
Budapest Music Centre
The Budapest Music Centre was opened in 2013 and is thus the newest concert hall in the capital. With just 350 seats, it offers a unique and intimate experience of musical performances, with the additional benefit of the Opus Jazz Club also being housed there. The exterior and interior of the building are quite in contrast with each other. From the outside, it might seem like a simple, Neo-Classical residential building. On the inside, however, visitors can see a very modern décor and enjoy the acoustics that was very carefully engineered.
Liszt Music Academy
The exceptional Art Nouveau-style building houses a magnificent concert hall as well as a music conservatory. It was founded by none other than Franz Liszt himself in 1907; a statue near the entrance now commemorates the famous composer. It was renovated in 2013, when an air-conditioning system was added, neatly hidden by the ceiling’s laurel leaf decorations. The colour scheme of pink, black and gold was also revived. You can here exceptionally talented musicians play here, and the additional benefit is that there is generous legroom with most of the seats.
Vigadó Concert Hall
Opened in 1865, this building is one of the oldest music venues in the capital. It reflects a mixture of several styles, including Gothic, Moorish and Romantic. According to CNN,
“Since the very first premiere took place here, names such as Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss Jr., Sergei Prokofiev and Gerhard Richter have graced its stage, and the grandeur of its interior decoration makes up for any weaknesses in its acoustics.”
As it is located on the shore of the Danube, the view is also marvellous from here. Recently, it was under renovation, but it is up and running again now and is still one of the most popular music halls in Budapest.
Béla Bartók Concert Hall
Located in the Palace of Arts (Müpa in Hungarian), this concert hall was opened in 2005. The acoustics here are so good – some say the absolute best in Europe – that it became a local joke to say that mistakes are heard better here, too, making all musicians nervous.
The place has 1500 seats and a nice, modern interior. Besides international orchestras, folk, jazz and pop bands also perform here.
For more news, check out this article about the construction of the new House of Music.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/Operaház