The city of Pécs’s Béla Bartók Male Choir is to represent Hungary at the first Eurovision Choir Competition on Saturday in Riga.
State secretary for culture Péter Hoppál told state television in an interview that Hungary is regarded as one of the great choir nations and “wherever a highly qualified Hungarian choir goes in the world, it always ends up at the top of the rankings”.
“From America to Asia, [the Bartok Bela choir] has great prestige and we are confident that the Hungarian singers will excel in the Riga contest, too,” he added.
Founded in 1945, the Béla Bartók Male Choir has performed in major venues around the world, including Vienna’s Musikvereinssaal and the Royal Festival Hall in London. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Tamás Lakner since 1980, the choir has won 42 prizes in the world’s most prestigious competitions.
In addition to performing serious classical compositions, the choir’s repertoire also famously includes ‘wine-songs,’ traditional Hungarian drinking songs sung over, surprisingly enough, a glass of wine.
At the Eurovision Choir of the Year Contest, the Choir will sing a work by famed Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály.
This is the first ever Eurovision Choir competition. 9 countries, with a total of 400 singers, will be competing in the event which will be held in the Latvian capital. In this event, Hungary’s Béla Bartók Choir will be singing for the top spot alongside groups from Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, Denmark, and Wales.
You can view a video introducing the choir below:
Via MTI, Hungary Matters and eurovisionchoir.tv
Images via winesongfestival.hu
Videos via Eurovision Choir of the Year Facebook Page and YouTube