I will have two free nights in Budapest on June 17 and June 19. I would like to take in a performance but it appears this is a very slow week for concerts, opera, etc. It looks like my choices are the Hungarian Folk Ensemble in the Danube Palace or a classical concert in St. Michael's Church. Has anyone been to one or both and provide a recommendation? I'm rather indifferent to the type of performance but am looking for a nice experience in a beautiful venue.
St Michael's is a lovely mid 18th century church located on the main pedestrian tourist street of Vaci utca. I've seen the church but never seen a concert there. The Danube Palace is located on the pedestrian mall in front of the Cathedral. I'm not sure of the history of the place. Its mid 19th to early 20th century in Rococo Style (sort of). I've seen performances here but not the Hungarian Folk Ensemble. They do have a very good reputation though. There are also organ concerts at the Cathedral the days you list. All of these events are going to be very, very touristy; which doesn't mean they will not be good. All three of these places also might be a tad bit warm inside. The summer isn't the classical season among the locals. There is a production of Ghost at the Operett theater. Unfortunately they haven't built the English subtitles for it yet. Other than that you are pretty limited. The Opera House website doesn't show any performance on those two days and the season winds down in June. The Palace of Art didn't show anything of great interest. The venues in Budapest are notorious for publishing their programs no more than 60 days in advance so you might keep an eye on http://www.jegymester.hu If you want to go "local" and avoid the tourists then you might check out any one of the city's great jazz venues or the Orfeum Club. http://www.orfeumclub.hu OR, you might check out a number of restaurants that have entertainment. Go to http://budapestflat.shutterfly.com/fivedaysinbudapest and download "THE GUIDE" and I have a partial list in the guide.
Hard to advise. It depends what kind of music you like. I personally would go for Hungarian Folk Ensemble. I like that kind of music and also I can attend classical concert in America, too, but usually not hungarian folk music.
I went to the Hungarian Folk Ensemble last fall. I would recommend it. The dancing and athleticism was impressive to watch. They were trying to tell a story through their dance -- to be left up to your interpretation, as there was no English spoken during the performance. Ours wasn't at the Danube Palace. The night we went, they performed at Budai Vigado (in Buda).
You can see the Hungarian Folk Ens. on Risk Steves Budapest video.
Just returned from Budapest and enjoyed the performance at Danube Palace. It appears Hungaria Koncert runs three different groups in a couple of venues. We saw the Hungaria Folk Ensemble. The music and dancing was energetic and quite entertaining. I was especially intrigued by their use of 2 "Hungarian dulcimer" instruments. To the best of my memory, I had never seen one before and the sounds were special. One previous comment about seeing a classical concert in almost any large city was a good one. So unless there happens to be a guest classical superstar and if you like to experience a variety of music, I'd highly recommend the Hungarian Folk music when in Budapest.
Thanks everyone for your comments and input.