Bartók Spring comes with a Bosch exhibition and special premieres

Although we are just entering winter, Müpa Budapest is already preparing for its 2nd Bartók Spring International Art Weeks, an all-arts festival in April 2022, which will feature many well-known figures from the Hungarian and international art scene, and a host of premieres. The first names of the festival were announced at a press event on 1 December. Csaba Káel, CEO of Müpa Budapest, spoke about why this year is important for Béla Bartók.

“This year we celebrated the 140th anniversary of Béla Bartók’s birth. Contrary to our plans, the first Bartók Spring took place in the online space. We want the festival to take place in front of a live audience in 2022. This festival represents the spirit of Bartók. He was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. A personality who still plays an important role in the image of Hungary even today. His creativity and inquisitiveness were endless.”

This is how Csaba Káel praised the composer who died 76 years ago, adding that the festival aims to present Bartók’s best works with renowned Hungarian and foreign performers, and to create on-stage pairings that the audience has never seen before.

Gerda Seres and Csaba Káel at the Müpa press conference. (c) Zsolt Várkonyi

As an example, he mentioned that pianist David Fray and the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra with István Várdai and Kristóf Baráti will perform a Beethoven programme at the festival. Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra will bring Bach’s Mass in B minor to Müpa Budapest, while Collegium Vocale Gent and its founding conductor Philippe Herreweghe will present the St Matthew Passion at the Liszt Academy. Not only classical music will play a role: the American rock band led by Mark Oliver Everett and EELS will give their first concert in Hungary.

The Bartók Spring is not just a performing arts festival: one of the highlights of the line-up, Between Heaven and Hell: The Mysterious World of Hieronymus Bosch, will be the opening of Central Europe’s largest ever exhibition of Bosch’s works and art at the Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Bartók Spring, while on 7 April the Ludwig Museum will join the festival programme with an international exhibition on a highly topical subject, The Forced Tropics: world states of transience.

“The festival always aims to host special premieres that break the mould of cultural life. There will be quite a few such concerts.”

– said Csaba Káel. As an example, he mentioned that Pál Frenák and his company are preparing a production of the legendary Bartók work The Miraculous Mandarin. Also at the Bartók Spring, Recirquel will present its extraordinary spatial experience, The Prayer, and the festival will be the first time that Hungarian audiences will see Sleepless, an opera by Péter Eötvös commissioned by the Berlin Staatsoper.

Péter Eötvös. (c) Szilvia Csibi

Boban Markovic’s orchestra is preparing a joint production with the Székesfehérvár Ballet Theatre for April. Branford Marsalis will return with his quartet to the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, where the audience will also hear a new piece of Hungarian folk music inspired by him, specially commissioned by Müpa Budapest.

Csaba Káel said that there will also be programmes in Győr, Debrecen and Miskolc, and that Pécs and Szeged, among others, will join the national festival programme with their ensembles. The details of the national programme of the 2nd Bartók Spring International Art Weeks and the featured artists will be announced in 2022.

At the end of the press event, Müpa Budapest’s CEO also announced an Advent competition; a digital Advent calendar will be published on Müpa Budapest’s social media platform. Tickets are already on sale for the programmes announced so far.

Article: Zsolt Várkonyi

Translation: Nóra Fehér