“Naïs” a sublime finale for MÜPA’s Early Music Festival

Jean Philippe Rameau’s late-Baroque opera “Naïs” (1749) served as the luminous grand finale of MÜPA’s recent Early Music Festival, which featured six concerts with international artists in the field of early music performance practice. From February 19 to March 4, soloists like countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and soprano Simone Kermes, and the groups Europa Galante, Ensemble Artaserse, Bach Consort Wien, and Budapest’s own Purcell Choir and Orfeo Orchestra eloquently demonstrated the tightly structured and highly ornamented … Continue reading

Folk-based Musical Tapestries at MÜPA Delight 

Folk music is the one of the most natural expressions of who we are. The classical repertoire is full of works written by composers who have tapped into historical treasure-troves of folk music as source material. The results illuminate the source as much as produce extraordinary masterpieces. Concerto Budapest’s “Roots and Routes” program on Jan. 26 in MÜPA’s Bela Bartók Hall explored several folk-inspired tapestries with song-and-dance inflected scores by Liszt, Dvorak, and a world … Continue reading

Varga’s Score Captures the Silly Seriousness of 1924

In 1966, history professors in the U.S. spoke carefully worded provisos regarding Soviet Russia’s promise that it would be able to penetrate the leadership of America without firing a single shot. The recent resurrection of a 1924 silent Soviet propaganda film, with a new score by composer Judit Varga, made its Hungarian debut on Jan. 12 at MÜPA. The occasion was a delightful combination of lively arts and a fascinating vehicle of political perspective. Directed … Continue reading

Lang Lang Leaps from Languorous to Lounge

Pianist Lang Lang, the wunderkind now in the prime of his global career, enjoyed a sold-out house at MÜPA’s Béla Bartók Hall on Nov. 14, where he played a solo recital that pretty much rang true to the scuttlebutt bandied about him for years. Episodes of serious artistry were mixed with a somewhat alarming penchant for the kind of histrionics which harken back to the likes of Daniel Helfgott, if not Harpo Marx. First the … Continue reading