On 16 September, Zoltán Balog, Minister for Human Resources, and Szilveszter Ókovács, General Director of the Hungarian State Opera guided the representatives of the press through various spaces and workshops of the Hungarian State Opera to describe and exhibit their conditions before the modernisation of the Opera. According to the decision brought by the Government, the modernisation of the Hungarian State Opera can be realised from 23 billion HUF (7.6 million EUR) to make the Opera House a modern, safe and worthy place of work and entertainment by the spring of 2018.
The last time the now 132-year-old Opera House was restored was more than three decades ago. The building next to it to provide spaces for various offices and workshops was built at the same time. In accordance with the Government Decision no. 1555/2015, the Hungarian State Opera began the greatest investments of the past few decades this year: a disused train depot is to be transformed into a new logistic centre known as the Eiffel Art Studios. Close to the centre of Budapest, this complex of about 30,000 square metres will house the nine workshops of the Opera, as well as a rehearsal stage of equal size as the stage at the Opera House, and a new chamber theatre: the Bánffy Stage. The venue will also accommodate all the sets, props and nearly 400,000 costumes that are now stored at eight different storage rooms scattered around town.
Following the investment, the functions of several spaces at the Opera House can change to solve a variety of problems that hinder artistic work. The benefit of this project is that it makes the modernisation of the Opera House possible, which was approved by another government decision on 22 August, 2016 (no. 1452/2016). The entire project affects every department at the Opera, the moving of offices gets more logical, employees and audiences can enjoy a 21st-century quality and comfort, while the artistic standards can rise, and every procedure becomes more effective.
The 2016/17 Hungarian Season that is about to begin is going to run uninterrupted at the Opera House in Andrássy Avenue. Audiences are awaited at the season opener premiere of La traviata directed by Ferenc Anger on 24 September, with Erika Miklósa in the title role. The night before, on 23 September, the first ballet premiere of the season takes place at the Erkel Theatre: a modern ballet recital entitled KYLING IT is compiled of four choreographies featuring the artists of the Hungarian National Ballet.
Photography by Attila Nagy, Péter Herman