The Hungarian National Dance Ensemble‘s staged a play titled Long Live Petőfi! (Éljen Petőfi!) reportsMagyar Nemzet. The piece, paying tribute to the Hungarian poet born 200 years ago, is being performed at Müpa Budapest (Palace of Arts) from November 15.
Based on the preview of the performance, the full-length “dance-theater play” will recall episodes of Sándor Petőfi’s short but densely woven life, both familiar to us all and rarely discussed. Zsuzsa Vincze Zs., the scriptwriter (who is also the costume designer and co-director/choreographer of the production), said that even the most serious Petőfi fans will have no objections.
The story will tell when Petőfi was born, why he became a traveling actor, what kind of women came and went in his life, and so on. The more curious, the more interested, and those who are more attracted to the play may decide to visit one of the Petőfi exhibitions. There have been plenty of these lately.
Vincze Zs. has chosen the poems with such ingenuity, and Péter Herczegh, the National Theater artist, performs them with such sincerity, that one might even feel like picking up the lesser-known works.
It is an imaginative and very beautiful solution, a tribute to the author, and the liveliness of the poem is also emphasized by the fact that Petőfi’s famous revolutionary poem, the National Song, is set to music by László Tolcsvay.
The Hungarian National Dance Ensemble’s performance is directed and choreographed by Kossuth Prize winner Zoltán Zsuráfszky with extraordinary talent and an endless commitment to folk dance.
The audience can see slow and fast dancing, bachelors, verbunk, girls’ dance, choreographed stage scenes, but also 19th century couples’ dance, that is certainly a waltz variation.
The piece presents a huge slice of Hungarian folk dance culture, exactly where and exactly as the story demanded.
Sándor Petőfi (1823–1849) was a Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary. He is considered Hungary’s national poet, and was one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. He is the author of the National Song, which is said to have inspired the revolution in the Kingdom of Hungary that grew into a war for independence from the Austrian Empire. It is most likely that he died in the Battle of Segesvár (Sighișoara, now in Romania), one of the last battles of the war.