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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera House is a neo-Renaissance opera house located in central Pest which is a part of Budapest on Andrassy ut. The Hungarian Opera House was designed by Miklos Ybl a main person of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction of the building lasted from 1875 to 1884 and was funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian Royal Opera House opened to the public on September 27, 1884.

Hungarian Opera House
It is a luxuriously decorated building and is considered one of the architect's masterpieces. It was built in neo-Renaissance method, with elements of baroque. Decoration consist of paintings and statues by leading figures of Hungarian art of the time including Bertalan Szekely, Mor Than and Karoly Lotz. Although in size and capacity it is not among the best in beauty and the quality of acoustics the Budapest Opera House is considered to be amongst the first some opera houses in the world.

The auditorium holds 1261 seats. It is horseshoe shaped and according to measurments done in the 1970s by a group of worldwide engineers which has the 3rd finest acoustics in Europe after the Scala in Milan and the Paris Opera House. Although many opera houses have been built since, the Budapest Opera House is still among the best in terms of the acoustics. In front of the building are statues of Ferenc Erkel, composer of the Hungarian national anthem, and the first music director of the Opera House. He was also founder of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. The other statue is of Franz Liszt, the best known Hungarian composer.

Hungarian Opera HouseHungarian Opera HouseEvery year the season starts from September to the end of June and besides opera concerts the Opera House is home to the Hungarian National Ballet. Many important artists were guests here including Gustav Mahler the composer who was director in Budapest from 1887 to 1891 and Otto Klemperer who was music director for three years from 1947 to 1950.

In the 1970s the state of the building provoked the Hungarian State to order a major reconstruction which started in 1980 and ended at 1984. The reopening was held exactly 100 years after the original opening, on the 27th of September 1984. The second house of the Hungarian State Opera is Erkel theatre. It is a much bigger building and it also hosts opera and ballet performances during the opera season. There are guided tours in the building in six languages such as English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Hungarian almost every day.

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