Budapest Spring Festival with respect to the EU presidency and the Liszt Year

28 February 2011

The programme of the 31st Budapest Spring Festival (BSF), which was communicated to the press this Thursday in Vienna, reflects on two important events for Hungary in 2011: the acting EU presidency and the bicentenary of Franz Liszt's birth. "We have at least one Liszt-related programme for each day" - Zsófia Zimányi, artistic director of the festival said at the press conference. To name but a few: Excelsior!, the new opera about Liszt, mixing historical facts with fantastic elements, written by Gyula Fekete and directed by Péter Gothár, will premiere at the BSF. The Csokonai Theatre Debrecen is putting the Christus oratorio onto the stage, while the Contemporary Ballet Szeged performs the Dante-symphony. Following the tradition that the BSF hosts a different country, region or city in each year, this time the festival hosts the EU member countries. There are several international cooperations in the programme: Mischa Maisky, Latvian but Belgian-based cellist plays with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Japanese-German Alice Sara Ott performs with the Wiener Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ádám Fischer. Pepe Romero, the Antonio Gades Company, the Slovakian Philharmony Choir and The European Union Youth Choir will also appear on Hungarian stages. BSF is also the time of the International Theatre Festival and the Fringe Festival. From the international theater scene we can welcome the Cheek by Jowl Company from London, who will perform Shakespeare's Macbeth, and the Austrian Schauspielhaus from Graz, with a Viktor Bodó direction of a Hungarian classic, Liliom by Ferenc Molnár. This year's BSF also celebrates two important anniversaries in folk music: the 30-year old of Dance Houses (Táncháztalálkozó) takes place in the Palace of Arts, featuring Márta Sebestyén, Ferenc Sebő, the bands Muzsikás and Csík. The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, founded 60 years ago celebrates with a special festival programme. The festival begins on 18 March and lasts for 17 days, bringing almost a hundred programmes for the hungry culture-eaters. Last year 150 000 tickets were sold, 30% of which was bought by foreigners and 14% of that by guests from Austria. Most tourists from our neighbour to the West come to Hungary for the thermal baths, Lake Balaton and its surroundings and cultural tourism. (Source: []Website Hungarian EU Presidency)