Following the 2020 world premiere of János Vajda's new opera based on works by Bulgakov and Molière, a new performance by the Hungarian State Opera is streamed live on OperaVision from 8 p.m. on 19 November 2021. The production featuring András Hábetler, Éva Bátori, Bernadett Wiedemann, Lilla Horti and György Hanczár, directed by Máté Szabó and conducted by János Kovács is available to watch for six months on the international platform.
Following the success of Mario and the Magician (1988), Leonce and Lena (1999) and Mrs Karnyó (2007), The Imaginary Invalid or The Cabal of Hypocrites is the fourth work by Erkel Award and Kossuth Prize recipient Hungarian composer János Vajda (b. 1949) staged at the Opera. His first intention was to compose an opera from Bulgakov's play, but with librettist Szabolcs Várady and dramaturg Diána Eszter Mátrai, they decided to combine the two works. The main focus thus shifted to the comedy by Molière. Elements taken from Bulgakov's piece are dialogues between Louis XIV and the author, which now serve as a prelude, an interlude and a postlude.
The work was first presented at the Miklós Bánffy Stage of the Eiffel Art Studios in October 2020, but due to the pandemic it was performed four times only. Máté Szabó's production features András Hábetler in the double roles of Argan and Molière, his partners on stage are Bernadett Wiedemann (Béline), Lilla Horti (Angélique), György Hanczár (Cléante), Éva Bátori (Toinette), István Rácz (Dr. Purgot) and Gergely Biri (Théophile). At the director's request, the prose role of Loius XIV is played by general director Szilveszter Ókovács. The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra is conducted by János Kovács.
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 29 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) by Erkel and L'oca del Cairo, ossia Lo sposo deluso by Mozart, all of which were available to watch free on operavision.eu. Also available until 2 January 2022 is Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano recorded at its premiere at the Erkel Theatre in May 2021 featuring Boldizsár László, Eszter Sümegi and Mihály Kálmándy under the baton of general music director Balázs Kocsár, directed by Fabio Ceresa. The Imaginary Invalid, or the Cabal of Hypocrites is available to watch until 19 May 2022.
Photo by Valter Berecz