kéknyúl: criminal funk
Ten years old this year, Kéknyúl takes us on an adventure to an enticing criminal underworld, presenting the audience with the soundtrack album to an imaginary crime movie. The interesting thing about this experiment is that, although the film itself does not exist, the story comes to life on stage as the concert experience is enhanced with the elements of a crime story, complete with special guest artists, projections and acted scenes. The musicians test themselves within what is, for them, an entirely new framework of theatre and storytelling. As founder and leader of Grund Színház, a theatre group rightly popular among lovers of improvisational performance, singer Andrew Hefler will help them adjust to this new environment. "We've long been preparing to tie together these two threads of music and drama. Old songs will reappear in a new context, and we also aim to really jazz up our usual sound for the occasion. String instruments play a really important part in the exciting music of crime movies. We haven't experimented with these yet, but I feel the moment has arrived. We're planning a real cavalcade of electronic and acoustic sounds, which hopefully will be a beautiful, unique and unrepeatable Kéknyúl experience for the audience,” says band leader Mátyás Premecz.
Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer
Richard Wagner's oeuvre contains a few key concepts - or, to borrow a word from the composer's own set of creative tools, "leitmotifs”. One of these, perhaps the most important of them all, is that of redemption. The sinner, who has gone astray, longs for redemption, and the redeemer is in more than once case a woman. What could redeem the man if not the power of love and steadfast fidelity? Der fliegende Holländer, in chronological terms the earliest of the ten operas that make up Bayreuth's Wagnerian canon, has all the magical immediacy and ballad-like compactness of these early, yet still mature, works. Müpa Budapest's initial decision to stage the opera in 2015 was made doubly courageous and outward-looking by two factors: first by choosing the 1841 one-act version, and secondly, by assuring its free-spiritedness by inviting the innovative-minded Balázs Kovalik to direct it. Highly respected in the international opera world for his novel reinterpretations, Kovalik truly took an original approach to the story, presenting the title character as a metaphor for an artist. The Chinese bass Liang Li is acclaimed as both an opera and a concert singer. Elisabeth Strid is a regular guest of the world's opera houses, and has also performed at the Bayreuth Festival. Critics lavish praise on the powerful voice and soft tones of American tenor Ric Furman, while the repertoire of Bernadett Wiedemann includes both Verdi's dramatic mezzo-soprano roles and Wagner's alto heroines. Franz Gürtelschmied launched his career at the Salzburg Festival in 2014 and the key Wagnerian roles of Sweden's John Lundgren include the title role in The Flying Dutchman, as well as Wotan and Alberich. Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. More information about the Budapest Wagner Days here.
9Bach was formed in 2005 by singer Lisa Jên and guitarist Martin Hoyland in Gerlan, North Wales. Initially the group performed only versions of Welsh folk songs, but they gained a taste for songwriting once they began touring in Western Europe and Australia, so their 2014 album Tincian was dominated by their own compositions. The pieces are at once folksy and atmospheric, with elements of pop, dub and electronic music - like dreaming, but where anything might happen. At one moment we are in Greece, the next among the Aborigines of Australia, and finally Tincian signifies a journey in every sense of the word. A similar magical quality characterises their 2016 album Anian, the title of which alludes to nature; that which drives us from within and that which surrounds us, and the destruction of which brings pain. What is sure is that 9Bach performs music with Celtic roots which is not comparable to anything else in world music, creating a new sound without losing sight of those origins. They arrive in Hungary at the best possible moment, at the peak of their careers.