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Hungarian National Opera

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One of the most important and best-known monuments of Budapest, the Opera House was opened on 27th September 1884 with a spectacular ceremony and in prescence of the emperor. But the celebration almost turned into a scandal because the curious public run into the building pushing violently away the policemen, just to be the first to see the marvellous Sugar street palace. The Opera House was opened with the first act of the hungarian opera Bánk Bán, the opening of Hunyadi László and the first act of Lohengrin.

After various years of considering it, the competition for Hungarian and foreign architects (Miklós Ybl, Imre Steindl, Anta Skalnitzky, István Linczbauer, Ferdinand Felmer és Ludwig Bohnstedt) to desing an Opera House for 2000 persons was published in 1873. The famous Hungarian architect, Miklós Ybl won but he had to modify his plans because his project would have costed more than the previously planned 2 million forints. He had to do without the auditorium's fourth floor and reduce the hall's size. Later, following Frigyes Podmaniczky's instructions only Hungarian architects, artists and companies could work ont he opera-project. He made only a few excepcion, for example the stage equipments came from Vienna.

When the construction was finished, even though it costed almost a 50% more than the originally planned, Budapest had the most modern Opera House in Europe, a neorenacentist palace with baroque elements that neither in the following 100 years changed it's artistic aspect, only some modifications in the interior of the building were necessary.

The building's renovation started in 1980, the stage sets had to be replaced and they also had to renovate the frescos, change the chairs, reduce the number of the seats to 1289 and the confectioner's on the third floor was reopened. After the renovation the Opera House could celebrate its 100 anniversary with its old shine.

It worth taking a look at the wall paintings because they were all made by the best painters of Hungarian historicism: Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely and Mór Than and they are all about music, for example one of the paintings represent the power and the universality of music. The marble sphinxes were made by Alajos Stróbl, just like the sculptures of Ferenc Liszt and Ferenc Erkel. The wonderful main staircase puts a spell on every visitor at first sight. The Budapest Opera Ball is organized here every year and it has a huge social, business and political importance. There are guided tours in Hungarian, Spanish, German, Italian and French at 3 pm and at 4 pm every day. There are discounts for students and retired people and it is free for children under the age of 6. In the opera shop you can buy classical CDs, books, postcards and other souvenirs. | Contact us

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