It is the obligation of the Hungarian State Opera House, by virtue of its rank and status as a national institution, to support the performance of opera around the country. It was this recognition that in 2013 gave rise to the week-long Primavera series, in which each of the companies from Hungary and abroad that are invited to participate will feature their latest pieces at the Erkel Theatre every spring. The festival begins on 4 April with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the production of the Cluj-Napoca Hungarian Opera directed and conducted by György Selmeczi. Fans of Verdi can enjoy three new productions: La traviata (Győr National Theatre, 5 April), Il trovatore (Szeged National Theatre, 6 April) and Macbeth (Pécs National Theatre, 9 April). The Csokonai Theatre, Debrecen presents the most important Hungarian national opera, Bánk bán by Erkel on 7 April. The Miskolc National Theatre presents Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländeron 8 April in the production of acclaimed director Máté Szabó, who has also staged several successful productions for the Hungarian State Opera.
The Easter celebrations are accompanied by productions that are closely associated with the festive season. The Saint Matthew Passion is Bach’s greatest work, one which constitutes an unsurpassable pinnacle not only of Protestant church music, but in the universal history of music. In 2013, the Opera performed the Mendelssohn version – for the first time in Hungary – and in a similarly pioneering manner provided a visual dimension for the enjoyment of its audiences. The background video displayed throughout the musical work was created by Oscar nominated animated film director Géza M. Tóth, who is also repsonsible for the new Ring productions of the Opera. Bach’s masterpiece can be seen on 13 and 15 April.
Richard Wagner’s Bühnenweihfestspiel has been in the focus of the Holy Week for decades. The traditional production of Parsifal by András Mikó features the most renowned Hungarian singers: István Kovácsházi in the title role, Gábor Bretz as Gurnemanz and Judit Németh as Kundry. They are joined by guest star Pavlo Hunka in the double roles of Amfortas and Klingsor on Good Friday and Easter Monday at the Opera House.
“Easter Showdown Motivated By Jealousy!” “Clown Commits Murder On Stage!” These are two headlines that might have graced Edoardo Sonzogno’s front pages, and it is the Milanese newspaper publisher and his annual opera-writing competition we have to thank for Italy’s two most popular one-act works, Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni and Pagliacci by Leoncavallo. The production staged by Georges Delnon in 2014 returns to the repertoire on 13, 15 and 17 April at the Erkel Theatre.
Those who have seen Mascagni’s famous one-act Cavalleria rusticana will never forget the Easter Hymn. The tragic story taking place at Easter is a perfect match for Messa di Gloria, which exudes the euphoria of resurrection, but which is above all a Southern Italian mass of innocent faith. The artists of the Hungarian State Opera (including soloists Ildikó Komlósi, Judit Németh and Boldizsár László) will be preparing for the Easter Sunday event with a concert performance with a unique atmosphere. It is also of no little relevance that Mascagni himself rehearsed and conducted his opera in Budapest, and as rumour has it, its success here ignited it like a rocket on its way to becoming a worldwide sensation.