It would be difficult to find a Hungarian alive today who does not comprehend the ominous sound of our nation’s history when they hear the name of a certain French palace called Trianon.
Exactly one hundred years have passed since the decision was made – often without taking local ethnic compositions into account, or even intentionally counteracting them entirely – to have millions of native-born Hungarians partitioned outside of the borders of their own country, thus immediately relegating what had been for a thousand years a mid-level European power to minor country status. Nevertheless, the ravaged and dismembered country miraculously rallied over the next two decades. Part of this effort was led by Miklós Radnai, who served as the Opera’s intendant between 1925 and 1935 and guided it through one of its golden ages.
The need to mourn is understandable, but it is also necessary to move on. This centenary day of commemoration, however, is not something that will heal the old wound. The beautiful music that Zoltán Kodály composed for the Opera and its musicians will first help us Hungarians feel our own pain, and then – in all certainty – process it. Coming out of retirement to sing in Psalmus Hungaricus will be the legendary tenor András Molnár. Given the special circumstances, we will be starting our performance at the exact minute when the Hungarian delegates to the Paris Peace Conference were compelled to sign the agreement.