Lehár: The Land of Smiles
Premièred in 1929, The Land of Smiles is one of Lehár's later works, although it is in fact a new version of his own earlier work from 1923, The Yellow Jacket. One of the key triumphs of the composer's career, this revision came decades after The Merry Widow (1905) and The Count of Luxembourg (1909). Who has not heard the operetta's irresistible hit, the song Dein ist mein ganzes Herz, which even the very greatest opera singers - ranging from Mario Lanza to Plácido Domingo - have fondly performed over the years? The story is about love, naturally, and the thrilling relationship between a European woman and a Chinese man - the countess Lisa Lichtenfels and the Chinese ambassador Prince Sou-Chong - is an exciting thread that, sadly, proves unviable: the generous Asian aristocrat eventually himself helps Lisa, with whom he is hopelessly smitten, flee from him with the man she has chosen: Gustav von Pottenstein-Hatfaludy. The unique feature of Müpa Budapest's production is the international cast: Prince Sou-Chong is being sung by Chinese tenor Yijie Shi, with Lisa portrayed by Armenian soprano Karine Babajanyan, who is already well known to the Müpa Budapest audience. The production's conductor, Xu Zhong, is also from China, while the director is Hungary's Csaba Káel. Grand operetta in three acts, in two parts. German-language production with Hungarian surtitles. The première takes place as a collaboration between Müpa Budapest and the Shanghai Opera House.
Christmas Concert by Ági Szalóki and guests
When we celebrate, we elevate a moment in time and separate the sacred from the everyday. We need to do this to be in harmony with the natural world, and with the cyclical natures of our human lives. In her concert, Ági Szalóki will draw from the rich repertoire of music associated with the Christmas holiday of European Christian culture to perform works of early music, as well as folk melodies that have survived through oral tradition. Ági Szalóki is a musician who is open and willing to experiment, and is an admirer and skilled vocal interpreter of the musical traditions of the Hungarian peasantry. She has invited guests to her concert who can perform Hungarian folk music, as well as the pearls of early music from the Hungarian Carpathian Basin and Western Europe, authentically and with great virtuosity. 'In December, when we are longing for light and warmth in the Earth's northern hemisphere, it feels good to rest and to fall silent. We desire revival, the celebration of birth. It's still dark, but we know and believe that things will brighten.' (Ági Szalóki)
Recirquel Company Budapest: Non Solus
If once there existed a state of primordial unity, then all souls originated from the same source. Ever since, in their human incarnations on earth, fragmented souls have been in search of others so that once again they might be made whole. Non Solus is the story of two humans finding one another, and exploring the innermost depths of their imaginations. It is a perfect union in an imaginary space spun from illusions created by two seemingly very different, yet closely related, disciplines: dance and circus. The contrast is extended through the synchronicity between the performers and their physical setting. Humanity's journey from birth to death is depicted in the context of an apparently living, breathing, organic stage set. This symbiosis between living and non-living materials, between the artists and their setting, propels the story forward to its inevitable conclusion. Classical compositions by Bach and Rachmaninov are alternated with electronic and contemporary organ music to create an innovative aural space that reinforces the dramatic shifts unfolding on the visual plane. The performance is recommended for those aged 12 and over. The première was an event of the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival.