Ede Poldini


contemporary opera 14 39. Palerdi András season ticket

9 February 2025, 6 p.m.

Eiffel Art Studios – Miklós Bánffy Stage

In Brief

Comic opera in three acts, in Hungarian, with Hungarian and English surtitles

Performance length: , with 1 intermission.

Dozens of people end up quarantined due to the bad weather. Emotions run high: those who shouldn’t, fall in love; those who are together, fall out of love. When locked in together, people learn a lot about each other. Instead of the wedding during carnival, a several days long quarantine party starts, forging a community from this rag-tag party, who follow the forbidden love between Kálmán, a student from the town of Csurgó, and Zsuzsika, a sensitive girl suffering from mild depression, with watchful eyes. And of course others fall in love as well, they devour their food rations, and the orchestra plays night and day, only to return to normal once the quarantine ends. Ede Poldini’s comic opera first premiered on 16 February 1924 at the Hungarian State Opera. Its libretto had already been written by Ernő Vajda a decade earlier, but the world war delayed the completion of the piece. First night was a huge success, Love Adrift went on for a hundred performances. It is an unusual piece of repertoire although it is one of those rare Hungarian works that once enjoyed fame internationally, in Vienna, Dresden and London.
The piece has now gained entirely new meaning in light of the long months of the epidemic, with a long list of scenes and emotions familiar to all of us: they help us laugh about ourselves and how we spent this period locked between four walls.


Eiffel Art Studios – Miklós Bánffy Stage
Feb. 9, 2025
Start time
6 p.m.
End time
8:30 p.m.


Part One

Scene 1

Zsuzsika’s family, her entire household is busy preparing a huge feast to celebrate her engagement. They are waiting for the arrival of the groom, Jónás Bükky. Zsuzsika is the only one not taking part in the preparations, as she does not like one bit the boy whom her mother, the mistress of the house chose for her. Another unforeseeable event hinders the mistress’s plans: there is a heavy snowfall, the roads are blocked, and none of the invited guests managed to get through the snowdrifts. But there are other, half frozen travellers stopped by the weather, who are taken in by the hospitable household. Among these random guests is Kálmán, a student from Csurgó, whose happiness takes over everyone almost instantly, chasing away their worries. A great feast begins.

Scene 2

Meanwhile, Kálmán keeps seeking the company of Zsuzsika. The girl escapes his attempts more for the sake of propriety. Finally they meet, and their love is fulfilled. But the love poem of the student is found by the mistress, who instantly calls her husband telling him that it is time he ended this intolerable situation and made Kálmán leave the house. At this point Péter loses the patience he has had until now, and confronts his wife: no guest may be insulted in his house! The mistress reacts by changing her tone and tactic. She had noticed that the army officer Zoltán keeps wishfully following the sorrowful Countess. She asks the Countess to keep Kálmán busy, while making Zoltán promise that he will entertain Zsuzsika all evening.

Part Two

Scene 1

The loving hearts have found a way to each other, and when Zsuzsika’s mother steps into the room again, she finds the original couples paired up. She suddenly invites all the guests into the room to see how the lovers broke their given word—and here begins the most exciting part of the game of forfeits previously started in the next room: the paying of forfeits. When the merriment is at its highest, they get the news that the snow has stopped falling and the roads can be used again the next day. The guests, who not so long ago were inconsolable for being trapped by the snow, now are just as sad for being able to move on. Upon Kálmán’s suggestion, they have a farewell party on their last night spent together, when forfeits and kisses flow freely.

Scene 2

Mrs Bükky finally arrives the next morning, but without her son, Jónás. As it turns out, Jónás has had his engagement after falling in love with their host’s daughter in the house where they got trapped by the snow. This time the mistress is happy to see Zsuzsika and Kálmán together. She takes the opportunity and introduce the student to Mrs Bükky as Zsuzsika’s fiancé, so as not to seem like a loser. The young lovers joyfully embrace each other, but they soon have to find out that the mistress only said what she said to keep her dignity in front of Mrs Bükky. In the end though she lets go of her stubborn disapproval of their love, and Zsuzsika and Kálmán can finally be together. They ask the guests who are about to leave to stay a little longer and celebrate the engagement for real this time.


"The merits of the director could fill several pages, but let us focus on the most significant one: he made the characters travel such paths and gave them such functions that go far beyond the original piece, and he did all that without letting any of the changes become too obvious. The costumes created by Márk Kiss and the

set design of Balázs Fügedi also glow with creativity."

Emese Lengyel, Magyar Nemzet