If you don't know that title, it's a song by the great musician George Ezra.
I'm assuming his little ditty has inspired many people like me to venture to this beautiful part of the world that would usually be reserved to only showing up in bond films (which it did in Goldeneye if I remember correctly)
Now I am just back from a weekend break in this beautiful part of the world and believe me I would've stayed much longer had I known just how incredible Budapest is. I'll be adding some more ratings over the week but I had to start with my visit to the state opera house. It was a stunning building with ornate features all around and a great sense of history. I'm not the biggest fan of opera but on a guided tour our host was lovely enough to highlights how incredible the acoustics in the building are, why the history of the building is so important to Budapest and what little quirky details in hidden in the decoration.
For museums heads, this is an ideal afternoon as the walk and surrounding area are very easy going. And I would highly recommend going to a bar just up the street on the Andrássy út called 360. It has a rooftop terrace bar (a rare sight in the city) with incredible views all round. For anyone who loves their panorama shots on Instagram, this is the place to go. And the cocktails aren't bad either.
I had hoped to see the interior of the Opera House, but on asking about times of tours, I found there were only two, and that was at 3 & 4pm - This didn't suit.
Well, at least I could see the opulent foyer, with its marble columns, gilded vaulted ceiling, beautiful murals that depict the 9 Muses and the chandeliers.
As going to the opera was a great social occasion in the 19th century, a sweeping staircase was a must in an Opera House as this allowed ladies to show off their new gowns.
The mail hall is decorated with a bronze chandelier that weighs 3050 kg, I hope it never drops on anybody! It illuminates a magnificent fresco of the Greek gods on Olympus.
I didn't see the Royal Box because you need to be on a tour. It's located centrally in the three-storey circle and decorated with sculptures symbolizing the four operatic voices - soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
TOURS ARE DAILY at 3 pm and at 4 pm .
If rehearsal is on, then most probably there will be no tour.
Tickets can be bought at the Opera Shop on the right hand side of the building.
The Hungarian State Opera House is a richly-decorated building and is considered one of the architect's masterpieces.
It was built in neo-Renaissance style, with elements of Baroque. On either side of the main entrance are niches with figures of two of Hungary's composers, Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt.
Liszt is the best known Hungarian composer and Erkel composed the Hungarian national anthem, and was the first music director of the Opera House and the founder of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. The Budapest Opera House is considered to be amongst the finest opera houses in the world.
Each year the season lasts from September to the end of June and, in addition to opera performances, the House is home to the Hungarian National Ballet and the Budapest Opera Ball, a society event dating back to 1886.
One of the stand out buildings in Budapest and Andrassy Ut is the Opera. Not only is it an impressive looking building, it also sounds impressive too. According to some recent studies it still has some of the best acoustics of any opera house in Europe, and ranked third after Milan's La Scala, and the Paris Opera House.
So you get top class productions, in one of the best sounding opera houses in the world, and what do you pay for this? Well even for some of the most expensive productions, you can get tickets for as little as 600 forints (about 2-3 euros). Better seats cost anything up to around 50 euros a ticket, but even at those prices it's a bargain. With value like that, you'll have to book a long way ahead to get into some of the most popular shows.
If you can't catch a show, you can always take a guided tour. They are available in several languages (my Hungarian teacher takes tours around in English) and can be taken most days of the week. My teacher is currently there on Monday's straight after my lesson!
If you do go to the opera on an evening, you might want to dress up for the occasion. You won't be turned away if you turn up in rags, but you'll feel out of place.
Admire the the neo-Renaissance exterior of the building if you like opera try to book your tickets for an evening performance. To see the rest of the building, you have to join a guided tour or attend an opera performance. English guided tours take place daily at 3pm and 4 pm for 2800 HUF
In my 28 years i have never been to the opera, mostly because i had an idea that it was an expensive thing to go see but i have been pleasantly surprised. I was in Budapest this time with my childhood friend Caroline and we had only allocated a weekend to visit Budapest and had left visiting the opera house to the last minute. Rushing to meet the 4pm tour on Saturday night, we missed it by only 5 minutes. Out of curiosity i asked the ticket seller how much the Opera would be for the 11 am show on the Sunday (we had to leave by 3pm for the airport). She told me the price for the best seats in the hosue (around 12 euros) and i thought why not, first time for everything. After checking with my friend quickly if she wanted to sit through a hungarian opera (all in hungarian by the way) we quickly bought tickets for a box with a front facing view and i can honestly say i loved it. Did not understand a word of what was being spoken but the actions of the actors and dancers, added to knowing the storyline a little helped me understand what was happening.. and honestly... has inspired a new love of opera for me.
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.