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After more than 60 years, Daniel Auber's 19th-century comic opera, Fra Diavolo returns to the Hungarian State Opera. The new production, performed in Hungarian, premiering on 11 May 2024 at the Eiffel Art Studios is staged by honorary general director, eternal member and master artist of the OPERA. The main roles are performed by Gergely Boncsér, András Hábetler, and László Szvétek, further cast includes emerging artists Benjámin Beeri, Diána Ivett Kiss, Mária Lili Somogyi, Gabriella Rea Fegyvesi, and Artúr Szeleczki. The OPERA Orchestra is conducted by Kálmán Szennai.

"It is an opera with charming and catchy music, great scenes, great roles, in one word: it is theatre itself," describes Miklós Szinetár the comedic opera Fra Diavolo, an intricate comedy about the love story of the daughter of an innkeeper and a carabiniere in pursuit of the leader of a gang of bandits. 

The real Fra Diavolo, "the devil's borther" was a certain Michele Pezze, who as the leader of some revolutionaries during the Napoleonic wars until 1806, when he was captured and executed by the French for being a bandit. Many legends were born about the adventures of this rascal, the most popular one of them was Daniel Auber's opera first presented by the Opéra-Comique in Paris, in 1830.

The bloodthirsty insurgent was tamed into a romantic Don Givoanni-like womanising bandit by Auber's regular co-author, Eugène Scribe. Pretending to be a marquis, Fra Diavolo tries to rob an English couple, Lord Cockburn and Lady Pamela travelling with him. Meanwhile, Lorenzo, the young carabiniere sent to capture him complains that Mathéo, the innkeeper does not want him to marry his daughter, Zerline. The comic opera became the most popular piece of Auber's career: it was translated into many languages and remained in the repertoire in the French capital for almost 80 years with more than 900 performances.

The opera reminiscent of Rossini's works was first staged in Hungary in 1838, in the second season of the Hungarian Theatre of Pest, where it had a run of 40 performances. The Hungarian Royal Opera (today's Hungarian State Opera) premiered it in 1909, but it achieved real success in a production by a 22-year-old newcomer, director Miklós Szinetár in 1954 that toured Hungary as part of the Opera on Wheels series, and another one at the Erkel Theatre between 1959 and 1962.

The Kossuth-prize and two-times Jászai-award recipient director has also reworked the Hungarian translation by Pál Szentgyörgyi, his assistant was Mária Harangi. The production features sets by Gergely Zöldy Z, costumes by Mónika Szelei, and video projections Zsombor Czeglédi. The cast is headed by Gergely Boncsér and Benjámin Beeri in the title role, further cast includes András Hábetler (Lord Cockburn), Diána Ivett Kiss and Lili Mária Somogyi (Lady Pamela), Artúr Szeleczki (Lorenzo), László Szvétek (Mathéo), and Gabriella Rea Fenyvesi (Zerline). The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and the Chorus featuring students of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy are conducted by Kálmán Szennai.

Following the premiere on 11 May 2024, Fra Diavolo is at the Eiffel Art Studios on 18 and 23 May.