The Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest is the largest opera house in the country. It was designed in a Neo-Renaissance style by Miklos Ybl and built between 1875 and 1884. Its horse-shoe shaped auditorium seats 1,261 people; it is therefore not the biggest opera house in Europe, but its beauty and accousitics have contributed to its reputation as one of its best: when accoustics measurements were conducted in 1970s in opera houses throughout Europe, it ranked third after La Scala (Milan) and Palais Garnier (Paris).Tours are offered in different languages evey day (see Website for more info).
The Hungarian Opera House can be found on Andrassy ut, one of Budapest's main streets. The Opera House was finally done being built in 1884. It's not an extremely large building, but it is very beautiful. It is widely thought to be one of the best opera houses in all of Europe and the world. Here you can see either an opera or ballet performance. Although the best program is to buy tickets to a performance and see the interior, you can also just take a guided tour. The whole inside of the building is very beautiful and elegant especially the main staircase, foyer, and chandelier. If you don't have a lot of time, then take a guided tour, but the best way to experience the Hungarian Opera House is to see a performance. :)
My mother and I decided to go to the Opera, I thought it would be ok as I was convinced that I knew the story of Macbeth.
We decided to walk to the Opera house from our Hotel, which in hindsight was probably too far.
We bought tickets and then waited for the doors to open. We were sent out to the side entrance and then we began or ascent. There was about 10 flights of stairs to the very top! We both survived that and when we got to our seats they were in the front row at the top balcony. When we bought our tickets earlier in the day the woman had pointed out where our seats would be on the seating arrangement guide but the seats we had were not those. This is a very common occurrence and it doesn't make for a good first impression. As this was our first night in Budapest we weren't impressed by this as we had only been polite and courteous.
We took our seats and I felt nauseous - I am not a fan of heights - and this was so steep. Anyway, I sat very far back in my seat and the lights went down and the curtain went up. Oddly the Opera was sang in Hungarian and there was a screen with subtitles (in Hungarian) - that at least made us laugh, the singing was not that great but definitely better than I could do. About 5 minutes into it I got the giggles when I realised that it wasn't Macbeth that I knew but Hamlet - so my mum had to subtly give me a running commentary.
The seats were hard and my knees were rammed into the balcony and during the interval I was nudging my mum and saying lets go, lets go! I think I have had enough. So eventually my mum gives in and we try to get out.. the lights go down and we are trapped again, but I cant take any more and beg her to ask the two people next to her (before the end of the row) to move so we can get out. She does this and the woman tells the man, he goes to stand up and as he does so (this is how close to the edge we were) his glasses fall off of his face, over the balcony and onto whatever is 50ft beneath us! Me and mum stifle our laughter and head to the door - we reach the top of the steps when a woman usher appears - where are you going? she demands in a very old eastern European manner, my mum mumbles some excuse about her knees and leg room and the woman barks at us to "SIT THERE!", so we do....and we are laughing so hard but without sound, my stomach is killing me, tears are streaming down my mums face and the row of seats is shaking. The man who lost his glasses goes to find them and the woman with him waits in her seat...he didn't return in the 30 minutes that it was till the opera ended and she never went to find him. I wonder what happened to his glasses?
It was definitely an experience, and even remembering the glasses makes me laugh so much still. I am even laughing now!
I apologise that this doesn't tell you much about the Opera House, other than to make sure your tickets are the ones you want for the seats you want, that you make sure its an Opera you understand and that you have very short legs and good eyesight. Oh, and don't wear glasses if you are seated in the front row of the top tier!
The HUNGARIAN state opéra is a néo-renaissance building located on ANDRASSY Avenue and it opened to the public on september 27 1884.
This opéra house is considered to be amongst the first few opéra house in the world.
We have seen a perfomance of "FIDELIO'" the unique opéra of BEETHOVEN.
We weren't passionates by the show, perhaps due to a very simple staging.
Those of you who don't plan to attend an opera or ballet at the opera house, please join a guided tour of the building. The magnificent opera house, opened in 1884, is the main work of architect Miklos Ybl. The lobby, grand staircase and auditorium are decorated with marble, stucco, frescos all over. Really an impressive sight.
Not only the architecture, the history is also interesting. Famous musicians worked here: Ferenc Erkel, Gustav Mahler, Otto Klemperer e.g.
Tours are offered daily at 3 and 4 pm in several languages if no rehearsals or performances are scheduled, of course. Cost is HUF 2,800 (which is quite steep, some tickets for performances are cheaper). That does not even include photo permission which costs additional HUF 500. LOL!
The Hungarian State Opera House was built in the late 1800s and combines the best of neo-Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture and interior design. Today, visitors can tour the interior of the opera house in six languages, twice a day, with tours lasting approximately an hour. The price is about twelve euros, and tours will not operate if they conflict with a rehearsal or performance. Expect to see paintings of the nine muses, a frescoed cupola, expansive entryways and maybe even a diva or two! Information about upcoming performances is also available on their website, of course.
This is something I haven't, as yet, done personally (and I don't think it was available during my 2005 visit) but it certainly looks like an interesting "rainy day" thing to do.
The Budapest Opera House is the home of the Hungarian State Opera Company and is reckoned to be one of the World's "most beautiful opera house" (well according to the website anyway). Only having seen it from the outside and taking a peek into the foyer it certainly looks suitably grand.
Guided tours, in several languages, are offered daily, at 3 and 4 pm (subject to concert and rehearsal schedules) and take about 45 minutes. These are designed for individual visits and group tours can be arranged either separately or in conjunction with these.
The adult price at the time of writing (Jan 2011) is 2,900 HUF with a 20% discount for holders of the Budapest Card. During the summer they also offer a mini-concert (a couple of solo arias) at the end of the tour for an extra 500 Forints. In addition if you want to take photos during the tour you have to buy a permit (in the form of an armband) which will cost another 500 HUF.
However if opera is your thing then why not just attend a concert? Prices for most performances start from a mere 500 HUF with mid-price tickets between 1,000 and 4,000. Tickets can be booked through the www.jegymester.hu site (2nd link below).
Budapest Opera House will enchant you not only with its ballet and opera performances but with its fine neo-Renaissance architecture.
The building fits well in with the similary elegant neighbourhood on Andrássy Avenue. Hungary's greatest Historicist architect, Miklós Ybl designed the building for the Millennium celebrations in 19th century.
Wrought iron lamps decorate the main entrance. Two imposing stone sphinxes guard the main entrance
The Opera House was opened in 1884 among great splendour in the presence of King Franz Joseph. The building was planned and constructed by Miklós Ybl, who won the tender among other famous contemporary architects
Before my trip to Budapest, I did some research about tickets for musical events. I noticed that, for the opera, the lowest ticket prices were HUF 700 (approximately USD $2.50 at the time). I have never been to an opera before -- so I decided to purchase a ticket for this very low price. During my 2-night stay in Budapest, I had a choice of 2 operas -- Verdi's Rigoletto (in Italian) on the first night, or Ferenc Erkel's Bánk bán (in Hungarian) on the second night. Since I was familiar with some of the music from Verdi's Rigoletto, I decided to purchase a ticket for that performance.
When purchasing a ticket from the Jegymester website (see link below), you are able to see a floor plan which shows the location of the available seats -- and the ticket prices. I chose a seat at the end of an aisle in the very last row on the right side. As it turned out, my view of the stage was partially obstructed -- but it was still a great experience to attend an opera performance in a great European opera hall.
There isn't a strict dress code, but most people dressed nicely for the occasion. Personally, I wore khaki pants and a button-down shirt -- and it was fine.
Even if you don't see a performance, you will still want to see the exterior of the magnificent opera house in the Neo-Renaissance style. Guided tours of the interior are also available.
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