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Opera House, Erkel or Operette

My 21 year old daughter and I will be in Budapest from 10/31, Friday, around noonish (flying into the airport) to Sunday evening (flight leaves at 8:00PM). We would like to see an evening performance and have heard the Erkel is a somewhat boring venue from an architectural viewpoint. Our 3 choices are as follows (and yes, we are well aware this is a personal preference, but we do like all 3 of the art/music events): The ballet, Coppelia, at the Opera House, the opera, Carmen, at the Erkel, or the musical, Miss Saigon, at the Operett House? We are staying at the K+K Opera Hotel. The venue itself will definitely be part of the ambiance of the evening.

We would love to go two nights to two different venues, but all are closed on 11/1 which is All Saints Day. That appears to be a big holiday for Budapest.

Anyway, would apprec1ate comments on the evening performances.

Posted by
4318 posts

Is Miss Saigon sung in Hungarian or English? Similarly, if you choose an opera, be sure to read the libretto before you go.

The Opera House is quite nice, so I'd probably choose the ballet ... no translation needed.

Posted by
9305 posts

I have seen Carmen at the Hungarian State Opera (NOT at the Erkel) and as a production I thought it was very well done. But I believe you are correct about your interpretation of the Erkel. Not that its bad, just that you are on a special trip and should capitalize on that in every way.

Oddly enough, I have also seen Miss Siagon at the Operett theater. Excellent production but you do know that there are some fairly raunchy moments in the story? I saw it with my wife and 20 year old daughter and was a bit uncomfortable. But I am pretty conservative. The Operett theater is very, very nice, but not the Opera House. One advantage of the Operett, if you can get box seats is that those in your box are taken into a parlor at intermission where you have a chance to share a table, hors d'oeuvre and Champaign with the other guests of your box. Since this is Budapest the odds are very good that you will be the only or at least one of the very, very few tourists in the room. We have met really special people and had great conversations at intermissions over the years. So the plus here is an intimate experience if you can find a box seat this late (first four boxes right and left of the center box).

I haven't seen Coppelia. But the Hungarian State Opera house is one of the top 5 Opera Houses in Europe; both the productions and the grandeur of the venue.

For November 1 you are also in luck. http://zeneakademia.hu/en/classic/-/program/budafok-dohnanyi-orchestra-en-20141101-1930 This performance is in the Grand Hall of the recently renovated Liszt Academy of Music http://www.resmusica.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/academie-franz-liszt.jpg . This is a stunning venue. I haven't heard a recital there yet but I have tickets for a performance in December. Can't wait.

Or if you prefer on November 1, https://www.mupa.hu/en/events/calendar/11/2014 This is in a modern but stunning performance hall http://www.hcb.hu/site/upload/2011/09/Bartok_Bela_Nemzeti_Hangversenyterem_p_p_51201007_m_mupa2.jpg

I am not going to start the argument of how to dress, but I do recommend that you look in the photos and see how the others have dressed and emulate them. Here are a couple of high resolution photos to assist

http://www.resmusica.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/academie-franz-liszt.jpg
http://www.worldwideticketing.com/images/opera-ballet/hungarian-state-opera/hall.jpg

Hope this helps some

Posted by
9305 posts

To @Laura's comment. The Operett is "subtitled" in English (projected on the Proscenium top valance curtain. I believe the libretto of Copelia is in French and I would suspect that it is performed in the original language. But I could be wrong. Opera, Ballet, and to a somewhat lesser degree the Operetts are very enjoyable no matter what the language if you read the story in advance.

And you could not have chosen a better hotel for your interests. When you arrive go to Callas Café next to the Opera house, tell them that you would like dinner after the performance.

Posted by
31 posts

@laura, @James Looks like the Opera House it is. The venue looks spectacular! So does the Liszt. The ballet will be much more visual to watch too. Looks like the people are dressed very well (similar to venues in the Los Angeles area) so we will be properly dressed although not quite as fancy as the people in the picture. I will just have to wear my ballet flats to the ballet!

Posted by
31 posts

@laura @james have either of you been to the opera house? I am assuming so. I found out there is a Sunday ballet that is less expensive than Friday night (starts at 11:00AM), but most of the seats are sold out. Do you know if the floor rises as it goes from the first row to the upper rows? Or is it flat and our view will be blocked by tall people sitting in front of us. I've looked at many photos and cannot determine if the further back seats actually sit higher than the seats in front of them. Right now it is looking like row 11 on the right side (seats 1 and 2) are the best for 5500 huf. We can also get center (and I mean center in row 15) for 5500 huf too. They are not by an aisle though. Otherwise, Friday is more expensive with more seating options. I'd prefer to not pay that much though. I appreciate all your help.

Posted by
31 posts

@worldinbetween So we are thinking the Opera house on Sunday as there is a 11:00 show (as you can see in my earlier post). We may be able to do both places as the Liszt looks beautiful too. Anyway, at the Opera House, there is only the ballet going on that weekend. So are all the seats on the ground floor stall level on the same level? I really want to know if the floor slants upwards as the row numbers increase. That would be great to know.

Posted by
31 posts

@worldinbetween You must be a relatively tall guy :-) I am not short but not tall; 65 inches or 165 cm. My daughter is taller. Anyway, it does look like the back row (row 20) on the ground level is curved and has more leg room (another reason you must be tall). I would think the flooring would rise as the row increases as if it were flat, then people would be upset and not pay more $$ to sit there. My concern is if it is flat and the floor does not slant upwards, then I may not get to see the ballet. For an opera, it would be okay as it is the music. For a ballet, the visuals are important. By the way, I think it is wonderful that you respond to us non-Budapest folks so quickly. Thanks.

Posted by
31 posts

Worldinbetween - oops sorry about that! Yes and I can understand about legroom. You cracked me up about living in places starting with B.

Posted by
31 posts

@james. Do you know if the floor slants upwards? I'm about to purchase my tickets after the good nights rest I just had.

Posted by
2724 posts

Having seen " Giselle " at the Opera last fall ( spectacular production ) , I would bet that their production of " Coppelia " would be at a similarly high level . I can also tell you with certainty that the orchestra seating is most definitely raked front to back so visibility is not an issue .

Posted by
9305 posts

I think keeping one of your evenings free for a really nice dinner and the lights of the city is a good idea. The 11am show isn't really the same as far as total experience goes, but its good. Dress is a little more relaxed as well. As for cost? This event in the US would cost you twice as much for a similar ticket. Go, enjoy...............

@worldinbetween; you will note that I pointed out "overpriced coffee and cake" I guess I should have made the same comment about the NY Palace coffee shop. Ouch! But they are into Opera and stuff so I thought they would enjoy it.

Posted by
31 posts

Well thanks everyone for the tips. I finally saw pictures where the floor slants upwards. We got seats in the middle of the theater on the main floor for Sunday. This also helps in case our plane gets delayed arriving on Friday. Another good thing is that this may open up seeing the Liszt on Friday or Saturday and seeing the lights of the city with a great dinner on the other night. As for expensive coffee and cake, I will pass. If I'm going to have anything ridiculously overpriced, it will be a nice glass of wine. (Which may just help me forget how bad that just hurt my wallet!)