The decision to build the Opera House was made in 1873. Following a public tender, the jury selected the design submitted by famed architect Miklós Ybl (1814-1891). Construction began in 1875 and, despite minor delays, was completed nine years later. The opening night – to which Emperor and King Franz Joseph was also invited – was held on 27 September 1884. The gala performance, conducted by Ferenc Erkel and his son Sándor, featured the first act of Bánk Bán, the overture from Hunyadi László and the first act from Lohengrin. Miklós Ybl’s neo-renaissance palace has remained virtually unchanged in the 130 years since and continues to attract admirers of opera and ballet alike. Each year, thousands of tourists visit the building to take in one of Budapest’s most impressive 19th century national monuments.