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City rhythms, Bluebeard and new circus – 10 shows not to miss at Bartók Spring

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  • sponsored WLB

02/04/2022 11.21am

The city now feels free, music feels free, dance feels free! For the past two years, all of us have spent most of the spring at home, but luckily this year, nothing can stop everyone from enjoying the brilliant sunshine and the super events the city has to offer. From 1 April, the cultural excitement will be bigger than ever before when the second Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks jumps into action. Apart from Budapest, this time you can enjoy events in Miskolc, Debrecen and Győr. A whole host of urban rhythms, world stars, high-brow and pop music talents, exciting dance performances and unforgettable theatrical productions await audiences at special venues. In our selection, we present our ten favourite events for Bartók Spring not to be missed.

Photo: Recirquel

Recirquel: IMA

1/10

Müpa

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If you only visit one Bartók Spring event, we definitely recommend this new production by Recirquel on 1 April, as we are constantly impressed by the performances of one of the world’s leading new circus companies. The special acrobatics, the dance, the theatrical elements and the amazing energy flowing from the stage create a magical atmosphere. This production, IMA, invites the audience on an inner journey between installations that evoke the depths of the universe and the space brought to life by a pulsating light emanating from millions of points. More details

Photo: Kalàscima - Daniele Met

City beat: Budapest Ritmo

2/10

Budapest, Miskolc, Debrecen & Győr

Between 7 and 10 April, the city will be dancing to the rhythm of world music, as Budapest Ritmo, one of the most important world music festivals in Europe, will unfold as part of Bartók Spring. Fusion styles, unexpected cultural mixes, striking new instruments, exciting concerts and world stars entertain the crowd on the three stages of the Akvárium, the Szimpla Kert and the Toldi. The festival will be opened by the Budapest Ritmo showcase, where six world music groups from the Balkans and Eastern Europe selected by a professional jury will be performing at the Szimpla Kert from 7pm. Then from 10.30pm, the Polish Dance House provide the entertainment until dawn. And that’s only the first day... In addition, this year Ritmo will be enriched with music-film screenings, for example, such as the joint work of Morda, Gábor Reisz and Bálint Szimler, one definitely not to be missed. Ritmo Picnics will then take world music to Miskolc, Debrecen and Győr in April and May. More details

Photo: Mészáros Csaba

Parádé: Boban Marković & Székesfehérvár Ballet Theatre

3/10

Müpa Festival Theatre

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If there are two things you wouldn’t think of putting together, it’s Boban Marković and ballet, but what a shame you didn’t! The uncrowned king of Balkan music released the album Mrak ('Darkness') in 2019. It was about the joy of making music together, but its speciality is that it mixes spontaneous, fiery musical elements with quite restrained songs, age-old musical traditions and current trends. The variety of this album, and the dynamic and dramatic world of music within it, inspired director Attila Egerházi (pictured). This is how the work entitled Parádé (‘Parade’), on the fringes of live concert and contemporary dance theatre, was born, interpreted by the Székesfehérvár Ballet Theatre. This can be seen on 3 April at the Várkert Bazár. More details

Photo: Gál Krisztián - Kékszakáll

Péter Sárik Trio: Bluebeard

4/10

Várkert Bazár Events Hall

There is no doubt that Béla Bartók is one of the most important composers in Hungary, so it is vital that people get to know, preserve and carry on his work. However, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle is not one of the easiest pieces to take in. His first and only opera is sometimes difficult for audiences to understand and digest, but there have already been a number of great adaptations that try to bring this piece of music closer to the listener. Péter Sárik has now spun his own interpretation, as he translates Bluebeard into the language of jazz. It promises to be a very exciting fusion, and most certainly give you the chance to get to know Bartók’s work from another angle at Müpa on 3 April. More details

Photo: Bartók Tavasz

Anthony Roth Costanzo aria evening

5/10

Müpa/Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

Classical music fans, listen up, there’s a real world star on the horizon! On 7 April, you can prepare yourselves for an unforgettable concert at Müpa, as Anthony Roth Costanzo, the performer chosen by Musical America as Vocalist of the Year in 2019, is coming to Hungary. This impressive countertenor performs contemporary music and Baroque classics. For this concert in Budapest, the works of Händel will be brought to life, accompanied by the Orfeo Orchestra and the Purcell Choir. More details

Photo: Csibi Szilvia - Müpa

Bartók & Arabic folk music: Pure Source

6/10

Müpa/Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

As part of Hungarian Day at the Dubai World Expo, visitors witnessed a special gala performance where, in addition to Béla Bartók’s collection of Hungarian folk music, pieces from his lesser-known works of Arabic folk music were also performed. And what a show it was! The piece was staged by singer Guessous Mesi, in collaboration with the Ballet Company of Győr and the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. The production will also be performed at Müpa on 8 April at 7.30 pm. Thanks to spectacular dances, the classically Hungarian pieces of Bartók’s oeuvre, the special Arabic sounds and the visual effects, you can become better acquainted with one of the greatest composers of Hungarian music. More details

Photo: Signum Saxophone Quartet - Andrej Grilc

Impulsive & spontaneous: Signum Saxophone Quartet

7/10

Budapest Music Center concert hall

Daredevil guys, special saxophone melodies and a spontaneous, characteristic way of performing… that’s how the Signum Saxophone Quartet can be described. The band was formed in Cologne in 2006 by four excellent musicians who decided to team up. Their performances are extremely impulsive, and you remain under the influence of their music for hours after their concerts. Since 2006, Signum have toured all over the world, playing at prestigious venues and making their debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2013. They recently won the Best Band Award at the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Festival. To enjoy Bartók’s Romanian folk dances or Bach’s music accompanied by the irresistible sounds of the saxophone, head to the Budapest Music Center on 11 April at 7.30 pm! More details

Photo: Kiterjesztett Jelen | Yuko Mohri : Dekompozíció, 2021, A Project Fulfill Art Space, Taipei Jóvoltából

Ludwig Museum: Extended Present

8/10

Ludwig Museum

As Bartók Spring is a real all-arts festival, in addition to theatrical shows, dance performances, world music and classical music concerts, fine arts shouldn’t be left out either. The brand new exhibition at the Ludwig Museum, Extended Present – Global States of Transitoriness, opens on 7 April at 6pm, displaying important works by both local and foreign contemporary artists. As recent years have fundamentally shaken our faith in world unity and pushed us into a continuous state of transition, it promises to be exciting to face the squeezed reality of our present with the help of fine arts. More details

Photo: Csibi Szilvi - Müpa

Péter Eötvös: Sleepless

9/10

Müpa/Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

If modern-day issues are presented in the language of fine arts at the Ludwig exhibition, then it’s worth catching Jon Fosse’s contemporary opera ballad at Müpa on 12 April. The main characters in this bitter opera story about growing up are two teenagers who lose everything while they are expecting their child. They get no help from the adults either, and when the boy sees that he can’t make their situation any better, he makes the people who excommunicated them disappear. The main moral question the opera proposes is whether anyone should take the life of another to save their own family. The characters in this desperate story are played by talented foreign performers, accompanied by the Hungarian National Philharmonic, conducted by Péter Eötvös. More details

Photo: James Bort - Warner Classics

David Fray & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra piano evening

10/10

Müpa/Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

Last but not least, we recommend a promising performance by one of the musical sensations of the concert season. French pianist David Fray was listed as the Discovery of 2008 by BBC Music Magazine. That same year, a documentary was created about him, Swing, Sing and Think. His career has been on the rise ever since. He is considered one of the most original performers of Bach, but he has also been leaning more towards Beethoven in recent seasons. On 14 April, with the Franz Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra, he will give an unforgettable concert with violinist Kristóf Baráti and cellist István Várdai, which shouldn’t be missed. More details

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