In the 2013/2014 season, the Hungarian State Opera, as the largest institution of Hungarian culture, and the recently reopened Erkel theatre invite audiences to a total of 630 events including 13+2 premières, 40 repertoire productions, 431 performances (including 28 public dress rehearsals), 19 chamber opera performances, 23 concerts and galas, 22 chamber music programmes, 145 events for children and young people, 7 open days and special street events, and 5 festivals.
The renewal of season tickets for the 2013/2014 season begins a month earlier than usual, on 15 April, whereas new buyers can choose from 48 types of season tickets – including 18 series for the Erkel Theatre and series compiled especially for children – from 22 April to 30 June .
The cheapest ticket to the Opera will cost 600 forints and the most expensive ticket for the first row in the box will cost 19,000 forints; student tickets for the third-floor gallery will be available again for 300 forints. After the spring introductory prices, an audience-friendly arrangement has been worked out at the Erkel Theatre: the most expensive tickets will cost 3,600 forints, and the cheapest ones in the last rows of the balcony will be offered for 500 forints. Season tickets will be available with a 10% discount compared to the daily ticket prices, and with a 15% discount at the Erkel Theatre. Senior and student buyers can purchase season tickets with an additional 5% reduction off the discounted daily ticket prices.
“Attaining our musical culture, making classical music popular with young people, experiment and accessibility – in headlines, this is what the 2013/2014 season is about at the Opera and the Erkel Theatre,” Szilveszter Ókovács summarised the most important objectives of the season to come. According to the General Director, the main point of the 600 events they plan is to pay a tribute to the great names – Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and Erkel – and, at the same time, give the floor to contemporary music, unconventional and novel productions, and music should also “step out” of the Opera House and go outside, get to country towns, cross the borders, appear on virtual community sites, and reach young children and teenagers as well as large families and the elderly.
Acting Music Director Domonkos Héja highlighted an outstanding event of the 2013/2014 season, the Strauss 150 Festival, which will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’ birth, featuring six operas by the composer – besides the première of Die Frau ohne Schatten, Salome will also be performed, conducted by the internationally acclaimed chairman-conductor of the Orchestra of the Budapest Philharmonic Society, Pinchas Steinberg.
The press conference on 9 April was Pinchas Steinberg’s debut as chief conductor in Budapest at the same time. The conductor, who will hold this position from February 2014, told the press that he saw this post as a great challenge. He conducted the orchestra once last season and he met motivated musicians who work hard and are open to the conductor’s expectations. His aim is to “raise the general professional standard of the orchestra as a lot of work will be needed in order to be successful internationally,” emphasised the conductor, who is well-known in America and Europe and was the Music Director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra for seven years.
According to acting Director of Ballet Tamás Solymosi, the next season will be a special one, not only because of the exceptionally large number – 108 – of ballet performances, but also in view of the professional standards of the ballet company which is catching up with leading international companies. This is proven by the fact that in addition to great classical favourites, the Hungarian National Ballet can stage modern ballets and the Hungarian première of Die lustige Witwe, too.
In the second half of April 2013, the Hungarian State Opera will launch a campaign to advertise the 2013/2014 season and promote the resident theatres, forms of art and ensembles. In the promotional campaign, the Opera and the Erkel Theatre strive to focus on their public activities and the significant importance of culture. With this purpose, their first, 30-minute long public service TV advertisement has been created with the support of the Ministry of Human Resources. The film features leading opera singers, orchestral musicians and ballet artists of the Opera promoting these two classical forms of art.