contemporary opera 18

One-act operas in Hungarian, with Hungarian and English surtitles

Lendvay: La putain respectueuse (The Respectful Prostitute) / Saint-Saëns: La prince/sse jaune (The Yellow Prince/sse)

The Opera’s LateNight series for audiences aged 18 and over, launched in 2014, will continue during the French Muse season with two Gallic-themed one-act operas, both directed by Kriszta Székely. “When it comes to subjects for operas, it is not a prerequisite for me to comply with any current trends. What is more important – perhaps the most important thing – is for the subject I choose to contain a social background to humankind’s fate and for the dramatic material to pack a kind of emotional charge that, paired at a high-level with the music, conveys that which cannot be said with words alone,” said Kamilló Lendvay of the opera he wrote based on a play by Jean-Paul Sartre. A typical Satrean protagonist, Lizzie must cast judgement over an innocent man’s life while her own existence is also at risk. One’s fate is decided by how one exercises one’s freedom of choice.
Saint-Saëns’s opera depicts a drug-addicted young man’s despairing attempts to escape from the greyness of reality. The Great Yellow Unknown who appears as an effect of the drug, however, is at least as enchanting as it is frightening, depending on how we look at it: what is heaven from within (at least for a while) might be hell from without. Perhaps this is the common point where the recognition of the otherness and tragicomic foreigness that is inside both us and our desires that is needed for two people – in this case Kornélis and Léna – to find each other.

Camille Saint-Saëns

La prince/sse jaune (The Yellow Prince/sse)

A drug-addicted youth (Kornélis) makes a despairing attempt to escape from the greyness of reality. The “Great Mystery of the Orient”, however, is at least as enticing as it is alarming. It depends on how we look at it: from within it is a (temporary) paradise, and from outside it is hell. It is not impossible that the illusion of reality and the reality of the illusion come from the same place. But perhaps this is the common starting point without which the tragicomic analysis of the recognition of the otherness, the foreignness in ourselves and in our desires cannot even commence.
Máté Hámori
Zita Szemere
Péter Balczó
The prince/sse

Kamilló Lendvay

La putain respectueuse (The Respectful Prostitute)

Máté Hámori
Bori Keszei
Péter Balczó
The negro
Krisztián Cser
Senator Clark
András Káldi Kiss
First policeman
Gergely Biri
Second policeman
Attila Erdős



“Beyond venturing into dodecaphony at times, La Putain respectueuse is a bold opera full of power and impactful effects, as well as passages that are as demanding as chamber music, which make bringing out Lendvay’s work truly worthwhile. Especially when it is presented by orchestra musicians and singers as dedicated as the ones in this production.
Ferenc László, Magyar Narancs
“La princesse jaune is a noteworthy effort by a young director on the musical stage. Kriszta Székely has both proved splendid at directing the acting and conjured up an exciting and delirious dream out of the piece. (…) She has created a powerful atmosphere for his surreal vision unfolding on the borderland between dream and reality while cleverly placing the original plot in a new context and introducing a host of associations.”
Zoltán Péter, Operaportál