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On 24 June 2023, the Hungarian National Ballet organises a birthday gala in honour of one of the greatest Hungarian ballerinas, Kossuth and Liszt Prize recipient Ildikó Pongor, eternal member and master artist of the Hungarian State Opera. The gala features the OPERA Orchestra conducted by Thomas Herzog.

For more than five decades, Ildikó Pongor has been a defining figure of the Hungarian National Ballet. After graduating from the State Ballet Institute, she continued her studies at the Vaganova Academy in Leningrad, and then spent almost four decades on the stage of the OPERA. During this time, she danced almost all major female roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire, later acted as an artistic director and choreographer as well. Vienna and Stockholm were important stages of her international career, but she also appeared in other major cities of Europe, North America, and the Far East. In 2012, she only said farewell the stage as a dancer; as a ballet master, she has an indisputable merit in the creation of many productions to this day.

On the occasion of her birthday, the Hungarian National Ballet celebrates the eternal member and master artist of the OPERA with a gala program compiled of the most popular classics. In the evening, Ildikó Pongor will participate in an on-stage discussion with surprise guests, for which the National Theater History Museum and Institute provided generous support by compiling the footage to be projected. The first half of the show includes excerpts from László Seregi's Sparatacus, Wayne Eagling and Tamás Solymosi's The Nutcracker, and Michael Messerer's Don Quixote based on the choreography by Petipa, Gorsky and Goleizovsky performed by dancers of the Hungarian National Ballet – Aliya Tanykpayeva and Gergely Leblanc, Miyu Takamori and Ryosuke Morimoto, Tatyjana Melnyik and Motomi Kiyota. The second part features the palace scene from Rudi van Dantzig and Toer van Schayk's Swan Lake. The main roles are performed by Maria Beck (Odile), Gergő Ármin Balázsi, Étoile of the 2022/2023 season (Siegfried), Iurii Kekalo (Rothbart), Gaetano Cottonaro (Alexander), and György Szirb (von Rasposen). Répétiteurs of the choreographies are ballet director Tamás Solymosi  and ballet masters Albert Mirzoyan, Cristina Balaban, and György Szirb.