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The popular internet platform presents Valuska, the latest opus by Péter Eötvös commissioned by the Hungarian State Opera. It is the first opera written in Hungarian by the most influential contemporary Hungarian opera composer, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday. The recording starring Zsolt Haja in the title role is available for six months on OperaVision from 19:00 on 19 January 2024.

The work by Eötvös is based on the 1989 novel The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai, winner of the International Man Booker Prize, which Béla Tarr adapted for the screen as Werckmeister Harmonies (2000). In the middle of the night, a traveling circus arrives in a chaotic small town, with the world's largest stuffed giant whale as its main attraction, invited by Tünde, the mayor to increase her influence. The mysterious Prince, a member of the circus then drives the initially silent mob to destroy, as a result of which looting, arson, and murder begin. Caught in the middle of events is the innocent and well-meaning half-wit János Valuska. “Valuska, this pure young man falls victim to a manipulative society in the shadow of a stuffed whale,” describes Eötvös his thirteenth opera.

The production directed by Bence Varga features Zsolt Haja in the title role, further cast includes Adrienn Miksch, Tünde Szabóki, András Hábetler, Mária Farkasréti, and Krisztián Cser as well Tünde Szalontay as the Narrator. The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus (chorus director: Gábor Csiki) are conducted by Kálmán Szennai.

The OperaVision platform offered by Opera Europa, the European association of opera companies and festivals started in autumn 2017 to promote the genre among opera lovers and novices. Supported by the European Union's Creative Europe programme, OperaVision brings together 30 partners from 17 countries and invites you to travel and discover the diversity of opera from wherever you want, whenever you want. Previous contributions by the Hungarian State Opera included Hänsel und Gretel by Humperdinck, Bánk Bán (The Viceroy Bánk) and Hunyadi László by Erkel and L'oca del Cairo, ossia Lo sposo deluso by Mozart, Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano, The Imaginary Invalid by Vajda, and Parsifal by Wagner. Valuska by Péter Eötvös is available to watch between 19 January and 19 July 2024.

Photo by Attila Nagy