Song recital by Dorottya Láng
Pronounced "unrivalled” by the Viennese daily Kurier, Dorottya Láng has won herself international acclaim with talent that classical music news agency Musik Heute once termed both "enchanting” and "impeccable”. Shortly after earning her degree from Vienna's Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, the Budapest-born mezzo-soprano quickly achieved outstanding results in prestigious competitions, including taking top prize at the Emmerich Smola Competition in 2012. A member of the Vienna Volksoper between 2012 and 2014, and of Nationaltheater Mannheim during the 2014/15 season, she has as of the 2015/16 season been contracted with the Staatsoper Hamburg, where she made her début in the title role of Daphne, and has also portrayed Varvara (Káťa Kabanová), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Flora (La traviata), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel). She has also made guest appearances at such venues as the RuhrTriennale and the Malmö Opera, and has given song recitals and concerts at Vienna's Konzerthaus and Musikverein, among other venues. In addition, she is a recurring guest at the Oxford Lieder Festival. The 2016/17 season sees her singing both the title role of La Cenerentola and the part of Hermia (in A Midsummer Night's Dream) at her home theatre. Elsewhere during the season, she will appear at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie in a production of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 conducted by Kent Nagano, make her début with the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and also will be appearing for the first time at the Schubertiade Festival in the Austrian town of Hohenems. Her partner at her song recital there, as he will be at Müpa Budapest a few months later, will be one of the most sought-after piano accompanists of our time: Helmut Deutsch. More information about the Budapest Wagner Days here.
Ferenc Kiss: In Praise of Girls
Ferenc Kiss etched his name into Hungarian world music history as a founder of the bands Kolinda and Vízöntő (Aquarius), whose popularity extended around the world. After tiring of life on the road, he turned his attention to composition and researching folk music, later going on to found Etnofon, the first independent Hungarian folk music record label. It was from musicians associated with this outfit that he formed his new band, Etnofon Music Company, an ensemble which, in addition to preserving the traditions of Kolinda and Vízöntő, distinguished itself by paying tribute to Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. Their projects Szerelemajtók ("Love's Doors”) and Pávaének ("Peacock Song”), the latter of which might be considered a predecessor to In Praise of Girls, were presented in this spirit. After Kossuth and Erkel Award-winning choreographer Ferenc "Tata” Novák urged Kiss to write a song cycle for the voices of Szilvia Bognár, Ágnes Herczku and Ági Szalóki, who had also performed on Peacock Song, In Praise of Girls was staged "spiced up with a little dancing” at the 2015 Budapest Spring Festival. Julianna Paár joined the three existing vocalists the following year, and the album version of "Leánydicsérő” was released at the end of 2016. The backbone of the songs, which are arranged in the ornate style that is typical of Kiss, comes from the poems of Anna Kiss, which the lustrous vocalists sing "in a hundred different” voices, sometimes coyly, sometimes revealingly, other times playfully or dramatically, depending on how a girl, woman or an older lady might react to a given situation - whether part of everyday life, a special occasion or a life-changing event. Since the feminine spirit - whether as a child, woman or mother - vibrates differently from the male, love, mourning, socialising and solitude all have a different tone. Viewers of In Praise of Girls - as witnesses to masterful transformations - can be certain that they will grow closer to the mysteries of the female soul, even if the ultimate secret, naturally, remains hidden... The première was an event of the Budapest Spring Festival.
The Qualitons name might ring a bell, as the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, no less, were keen to get to know the band when in town last summer. They've toured on several occasions abroad, and conjured the spirit of Hungary's beat period with veteran singer Kati Kovács. Since 2013, they've also broadened their earlier mostly instrumental palette to include an added emphasis on vocals. This band of outstanding musicians is led by Hunor G. Szabó - originally the drummer, now guitarist and singer - alongside his fellow musician from student days in Mezőtúr, bass guitarist Ernő Hock. The familiarity, friendship and unique musical interplay between these two make up the main pillar of the band's sound. So far, The Qualitons have released two albums, the first on a German label in 2010 under the title Panoramic Tymes, the second in 2014, entitled Tomorrow's News. The latter features the three-part opus Gone to You.