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Starry Nights: cool open-air shows of the Budapest Summer Festival

Photo : Budapest Summer Festival
Starry Nights: cool open-air shows of the Budapest Summer Festival

Melodies weave between the lushly leafy trees spread across the city’s most popular parkland isle during the annual Budapest Summer Festival, a sensational series of live shows already in full swing with a diverse repertoire of global talents performing alfresco. The primary venue for these summertime spectacles is the Margaret Island Open-air Stage, a vast modern amphitheater beneath a century-old Art Nouveau water tower.

Whether the spotlight shines on homegrown Hungarian stars or illuminates prominent entertainers from around the planet, the open-air productions of the Budapest Summer Festival offer all types of onstage artistry – here are some major acts arriving on Margaret Island during the sizzling season.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Moscow Classical Ballet
June 27, 8pm
This globe-trotting Russian troupe combines reverence for their nation’s traditional dance techniques with stylishly contemporary movement artistry, all made colorful with vivid costumes and skillful staging. For this Budapest performance, the company presents choreographies set to Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and “The Rite of Spring”.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Eszter Váczi & the Quartet
June 29, 8pm
With her charmingly rhythmic voice leading listeners through smooth sets of modern Magyar melodies, delightful jazz diva Eszter Váczi enchants audiences along with her lively four-piece ensemble. During this outdoor concert, hear new songs from Eszter’s freshly released album, “Belső Tenger” (meaning “Internal Sea” in Hungarian).

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
July 4 and 6, 8pm
As a festival highlight of 2014, the premiere of this original production of Bizet’s opus (created with the cooperation of the Hungarian State Opera) stars renowned Israeli mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham donning the distinctive red dress of the title character after singing the role in Hong Kong, St. Petersburg, Sao Paolo, and beyond.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Movie Soundtracks Around the World
July 11, 8pm
Feel thrilling sensations instantly instilled by the scores of numerous classic films – including compositions by Maurice Jarre, Nino Rota, and Hans Zimmer – all performed live by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, with Hungarian singers Mónika Veres and Bálint Gájer providing vocals. A backdrop of iconic clips accompanies every theme.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Félix Lajkó
July 13, 8pm
From humble countryside roots, Magyar musician Félix Lajkó now travels the globe performing captivating songs that meld varied genres like folk, classical, jazz, and rock, all spiced up with impressive improvisation. Hear this multi-instrumentalist play violin and zither during this concert with the Dohnányi Symphony Orchestra.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
July 19, 8pm
A modern-day chanteuse equally adored in France and her native Hungary, singer-songwriter Boglárka Csemer – better known as Boggie – fuses her classical-music training with jazzy styling to create powerful ballads with soaring movements. This intimate performance features hits from her first tri-lingual album, released last year.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club
July 26, 8pm
Havana’s world-renowned ensemble of venerable nightclub virtuosos returns to Hungary amid their “Adios Tour”, as these living legends of Cuban son music – like guitar great Eliades Ochoa and sonorous singer Omara Portuondo – say farewell with a traveling series of spirited shows before beginning their hard-earned retirement.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
August 1 and 3, 8pm
Verdi’s most exotic opera masterpiece is staged with elaborate costumery and scenery depicting its ancient-Egyptian setting, rendered even more dramatic when recreated under open skies. Making his debut in Hungary, acclaimed Brazilian-Italian tenor Thiago Arancam performs as General Radames, along with Magyar soprano Eszter Sümegi.

Photo: Budapest Summer Festival
Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra
August 10, 8pm
Blasting brass resonates across Margaret Island when Serbia’s leading world-music superstars bring their big band back to Budapest for a high-energy concert. Led by the namesake father-and-son duo, the group weaves melodies of varied regional communities to create quintessentially Balkan tunes that get audiences dancing in the seats.

Photo: BITE Bakery Café
August 30, 8pm
Soulful Magyar songbird Veronika Harcsa takes listeners on an experimental journey along with guitarist Bálint Gyémánt and music producer Andrew J when this trio unites as Bin-Jip, one of Hungary’s most innovative contemporary ensembles. Enjoy the jazzy rhythms intertwined with intricate electronica to create an uplifting atmosphere.

Check out for complete festival and ticket information.