Budapest opens festival season in Europe – 39. Spring Festival launches on 5 April


This year again, 39-year-old Budapest Spring Festival offers its usual huge amount and diversity of programmes and venues, from 5 to 22 April. The main topics are Liszt, Russian culture and the 100-year-old Bauhaus. After we attended the press conference in the new main hall of the National Dance Theatre Budapest, we realized that it is impossible to highlight any of the superstars appearing on stage, so we intend to give you a little snippet without any claim of completeness.

We are the Budapest Spring Festival. One of our recurring topics, taken from the rich cultural heritage of Hungary, is Franz Liszt, his works and influence on our times.

These are the words of Csaba Káel, executive director of Müpa and director of the operations committee of the festival, highlighting how the BSF influences tourism, bringing many foreign guests to Hungary who even organize their annual leave to attend some of the specialties and premieres.

Franz Liszt, his personality and music, is one of the key elements of the festival year by year. There will be several Liszt concerts in 2019 as well. It is worth mentioning the one by the Philharmonia Chor Stuttgart in the Inner City Parish Church in Pest, or the concert of pianist Fülöp Ránki and the Liszt Academy Symphonic Orchestra with the Orpheus and the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major.

Bauhaus is 100 years old in 2019. The Ludwig Museum launches a Bauhaus 100 exhibition which is accompanied by city walks

– says Káel about the Bauhaus thematic.

We succeeded to bring an internationally renowned representative of Russian culture: Valery Gergiev, one of the world’s five most popular conductors. And it will be a real curiosity to see Mariinsky’s all ensembles, the orchestra, the opera company, and the ballet company at one time in Budapest – as a lovely Easter present.

Nobody else did more than Valery Gergiev to make 19th and 20th century Russian composers’ works as part of the European concert repertoire. He also played an inevitable role in boosting musical life in Saint Petersburg. They will play Iolanta, Tchaikovsky’s last and originally one-part opera, in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in a concert-like performance. Then, on the final day of the festival, amazing dancers of the ballet company will play Cinderella, Prokofiev’s fairy-tale ballet in the Erkel Theatre, also with the legendary conductor.

The opening performance of the whole festival will be, in accordance with the Russian thematic, Mussorgsky’s second and last finished opera Khovanshchina, on th 5th of April in the Müpa. The Hungarian Radio Orchestras intend to play the work as the composer would have wished, using a reconstruction based on János Bojti’s academic research that lasted for ten years, with János Kovács as conductor.

One of the most intriguing venues is the Ferenc Liszt International Airport Budapest, Terminal 1, where Kristóf Baráti and the Kodály Philharmonics of Debrecen play ont he 12th of April.

Baroque music is another recurring highlight of the festival

– says Teodóra Bán, manager of the Budapest Centre for Festivals and Tourism, member of the operations committee. The Festetics Palace and the National Museum host the Jabot Festival that debuted last year with a huge success.

POKET, the pocket book project of the Sztalker Csoport, will also celebrate its first birthday during the festival, attracting many young people. Among other literature programmes, the Hommage à Sándor Kányádi on the Hungarian Poetry Day (11th of April) will be a true specialty, with contributing artists Réka Pelsőczy, Ferenc Lengyel, Pál Sztarenki or Ági Szalóki.

Harpsichordist Borbála Dobozy is one of the performers of the Jabot Festival. Having studied in Prague, she is an expert on Czech baroque composers.

Czech music is my love. I found my way to this incredibly rich musical world very early on. They had a bunch of wonderful composers

– she says. She will play from three masters in the Festetics Palace: Štěpán, Zelenka and G. A. Benda.

Their life work is quite significant. Benda was Mozart’s favourite composer. After they died, people forgot their music, but nowadays they are revisited, especially in the Czech Republic. All Czech masters had a very special, born-this-way musical and melody world, this is what I intend to show with my concert.

Gábor Goda, director, choreographer and leader of Artus, commented on the premiere of The Gate of Wind. He has been working a lot with the more than 1000 years old Tai Chi Chuan or “slow Kung Fu”, which is based on movements and gestures taken from nature, relating not only to humans but the whole universe. As he says:

Gábor Goda. (c) Posztos János

One part of the body is called Feng Fu, “the gate of the wind”: this is connected to spirit and consciousness. This is somewhere on the top of our head. Masters say that if you keep your body and neck healthy and move enough, then this gate on your head opens and restores the connection between the head and the universal spirit, discards useless thoughts and makes space for new ones, so we can experience an intuitive, creative self. We can never see the wind, nor we can see its spirituality, the only thing we can feel is its impact – not only in human creativity but also in nature. Just think about quivering leaves.

Singer and songwriter Márk Zentai of the band Mōrk was talking about the album release concert The Death and Resurrection of Mōrk.

We mix soul, funk and jazz elements, inspired, sometimes witty, with some musical humour that is rare with bands like us.

One of his favourite soul singers, Judith Hill will also play at the BSF.

There will be even more jazz, like Bebel Gilberto’s concert at the Budapest Jazz Club. There will be the Soap&Skin, mixing classical music with electropop on the A38 ship. There will be contemporary dance, like SUNNY by Emanuel Gat in the Trafó, which is a vibrant choreographic exploration and live music performance in one. There will be art exhibitions, like Triumph of the Body. Michelangelo and Sixteenth-Century Italian Draughtsmanship in the Museum of Fine Arts. There will be films in the Urania, featuring several works of David Lynch, and so many other things that we cannot even list them anymore. Just open the BSF website and your calendar will be soon full with programmes you are interested in.

Article: Enikő Nagy

Translation: Zsófia Hacsek