The new, versatile online series of the Hungarian State Opera kicked off on 20 September 2020 after a new temporary lockdown (until 17 October) had to be implemented by the institute to protect its artists and audience. On the one hand, this new alternative programme attempts to make up for the cancelled performances and tries to provide operatic experience for the fans of the genre. On the other hand, the new arrangement is the safest possible solution to protect the artists from contracting the virus.
In September and October, the Hungarian State Opera streams free aria recitals, opera highlights and chamber production on its Facebook site from the Bánffy Stage of the Eiffel Art Studios four times a week. The series entitled Masquerade (referring to the word 'mask'), introduced after a rise in COVID-19 cases among the artists, is made up from three different shows. The first is an exclusive aria recital by a leading soloist / Chamber Singer of the Opera every Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. The one-hour programmes feature pieces compiled by the singers themselves accompanied on the piano by a répétiteur of the institute. The soloist are joined on stage by another Chamber Singer and a young singer at the beginning of their career.
Every Wednesday is OperaWednesday. In the upcoming five weeks, at 8 p.m. of every Wednesday we broadcast highlights of the operas that had to be cancelled. Starting with Edgar by Puccini, viewers can see the most important excerpts featuring soloists of the Hungarian State Opera accompanied by piano. To enhance the experience, the costumes and parts of the sets created for the productions will also feature in these broadcasts. Further planned programmes include Carmen by Bizet, Manon Lescaut by Puccini, Un ballo in maschera by Verdi, and The Spinning Room by Zoltán Kodály.
The ensembles of the Opera will also be able to participate: on Fridays, at 8 p.m., the programme entitled Terzet-Trio-Trois gives the chance to the Opera Chrous (chorus master: Gábor Csiki) to sing choral pieces, the Opera Orchestra (general music director: Balázs Kocsár) to play chamber concerts, and the Hungarian National Ballet (artistic director: Tamás Solymosi) to perform solo choreographies or pas de deux. The 60-90 minute show is a great opportunity for the artists to prove themselves as soloists as well.
We sincerely hope that normal productions can be resumed as soon as possible at the Opera. Until then, enjoy this gift by the company in the safety of your home, follow the performances of our best singers, musicians and dancers, and keep safe!
Photo by János Kummer