Un ballo in maschera glitters but doesn’t ignite in Budapest

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Erkel Theatre, Budapest, 21 April 2018

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The Naples censor rejecting the original libretto for Un ballo in maschera, then called Un vendetta in domino. Caricature by Melchiorre Delfico

The final scene in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera invites stage directors to dazzle their audiences with a sumptuous masked ball. The public at this new production was duly dazzled, in the best of taste, and not just by the scintillating golds and pinks of the ball gowns.

Full review on Bachtrack.

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In the best tradition: Hungarian State Opera’s glossy Turandot

Puccini: Turandot

Erkel Theatre, Budapest, 30th January 2016

Traditional does not have to mean tired. This production of Puccini’s Turandot is a happy medium between drastic re-imaginings of opera plots and literal stagings that follow every comma in the libretto. Although none of the individual performances touched greatness, conductor János Kovács kneaded them all together into fast-paced theatre with grand flourishes.

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Turandot at Hungarian State Opera © Attila Nagy

Full review on Bachtrack.

Fine Budapest cast tears into lacerating Lear

Reimann: Lear

Hungarian State Opera, 30th January 2016

Resurrecting old opera productions is risky. No matter how nonspecific the concept and design, every production is marked by the taste and physical minutiae of its era. In a tribute to notable opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932-1988), Ferenc Anger has revived his production for the 1978 world première of Aribert Reimann’s Lear. The result, painstakingly recreated from a video recording, verifies that the original production has largely stood the test of time.

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Lear at the Hungarian State Opera © Péter Rákossy

Full review on Bachtrack.