The five ballet performances of Swan Lake were enthusiastically received by eight thousand, and the two opera performances of Madama Butterfly by a further two thousand paying spectators – often accompanied by a standing ovation – between 8 and 13 September 2023, in the season opening series of the Dubai Opera. Among the warmly received productions, Puccini's opera will also be heard in a concert version at the Budapest Opera House on 23 and 26 September.
"It’s part of the mission of Dubai Opera to bring people and nations together to promote the cultures of the world. I’m extremely proud of the cooperation with the Hungarian State Opera and Hungarian National Ballet. Together we share a commitment to celebrate artistic excellence in opera and ballet. Thanks to the over 200 artists, among dancers, musicians, in addition to technicians and managers from Budapest who have contributed, along with the exceptional team of Dubai Opera, to a memorable and successful start of the new season,” stated Dr. Paolo Petrocelli, Head of Dubai Opera.
Following the success of the guest performances Dr. Szilveszter Ókovács, general director of the Hungarian State Opera claimed: "It is not out of politeness to say that it is a real honour for us to bring the opera and ballet productions of this season programme of the Dubai Opera, which opened only 7 years ago, from distant Hungary to the shores of the Persian Gulf. We are ambassadors of European culture, of Western opera culture through Puccini, but also of Eastern ballet culture through Tchaikovsky and Petipa, and all of this could be brought to the stage here through Hungarian performing arts. As one of the world's most active opera institutions with the widest repertoire and working with the largest ensembles of artists, we gladly came and will gladly return to the Emirates, where a connoisseur audience, a professional team, and a great building awaited us."
At the invitation of the Dubai Opera, the Hungarian State Opera performed as a guest in the United Arab Emirates between 8 and 13 September 2023, involving 244 artists and employees including 9 vocal soloists, 2 conductors, a 66-piece orchestra, 23 chorus members, 69 ballet dancers, 10 ballet students, 14 extras, and 24 stage technical and background staff. The main roles of Swan Lake were performed by Tatiana Melnik and Maria Yakovleva as Odette/Odile, Dmitry Timofeev and Louis Scrivener as Siegfried, and Mikalai Radziush and Iurii Kekalo as Rothbart whereas the soloists of Madama Butterfly were Gabriella Létay Kiss and Kinga Kriszta as Cio-Cio San, Boldizsár László as Pinkerton, Erika Gál as Suzuki, and Zsolt Haja as Sharpless. The ballet was conducted by Gábor Hontvári in his debut, the opera was conducted by Kossuth Award recipient János Kovács.
The Hungarian National Ballet has already arrived home from Dubai and began preparations for the Don Quixote series starting on 30 September 2023, as well as the Spartacus series starting on 14 October 2023. The orchestra, chorus and soloists – due to the slower arrival of costumes and sets from Dubai – will perform their production of Madama Butterfly, which was a great success in the Emirates, in a concert version at the Opera House. In the performances on 23 and 26 September, the role of Cio-Cio San is performed by Kinga Kriszta, Pinkerton by Szabolcs Brickner, Sharpless by Csaba Szegedi.