It was not only in the institutional performance of opera in Hungary that Ferenc Erkel played a critical role, he was also responsible for organising the first Hungarian orchestra. And it was from the orchestra that first started operating at the Hungarian Theatre of Pest (later the National Theatre) in January 1838 that the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra evolved, making it more than 180 years old. They presented Erkel's first opera, Bátori Mária, and have been involved in the overwhelming majority of Hungary's opera premieres.