The Hungarian State Opera’s 2017/18 season will get off to an unusual start, since the Opera House will not be opening its doors in September. The modernisation means that the season will start at the Erkel Theatre, and while there will be fewer programmes than usual, their diversity will match that of previous years.
In this season inspired by Wagner’s Ring cycle, there will be 28 opera and ballet premieres, along with countless repertoire pieces, musicals, grand operettas, concerts, concert-format productions and family and children’s programmes. The Ring–theme is not just about the Ring cycle itself. It also presents the precursors and impact of Wagner’s genius. Featured will be dramatic works – some staged, some concert-format – by Bach, Gluck, Weber, Beethoven, Schubert, Spontini, Lortzing, Marschner, Humperdinck, Wolf, Korngold and Richard Strauss: a sort of spiritual Valhalla of pan-Germanic culture.
As the audience has already come to expect, we will be premiering several works that have never been performed at the Opera, or anywhere in Hungary for that matter. These include the new experience of Hindemith’s two works – Sancta Susanna and The Long Christmas Dinner – to be featured in the GermanLateNight programme. Rossini’s comic opera L’italiana in Algeri, Bach’s Secular Cantatas and Offenbach’s Die Rheinnixen have likewise never been shown here. At any given time while the Opera House is being renovated, a portion of the company will be on the road. The Hungarian National Ballet will at last get to captivate the Müpa Budapest audience, among others, with its contemporary dance works. The Béla Bartók National Concert Hall will also be hosting opera, with concert-format performances of three large-scale works: Otello, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Turandot.
The Opera House hosts many of the season’s events around one anniversary or another. It will pay tribute to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in autumn 2017 with concert-format performances of Verdi’s Requiem and Stiffelio, as well as a new production of a work that has not played in Hungary for a long time: Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, staged by János Szikora. On 24 May 2018, both the company and the audience will once again take possession of the Opera House with a four-day Bluebeard100 Mini-Festival, with a different production of Bartók’s one-act presented each day (including the original Miklós Bánffy version and a new one by Kasper Holten), each paired with a different work by Péter Eötvös, Iván Madarász or Gergely Vajda.