After a one-year break, Hartmut Schörghofer’s acclaimed production of Der Ring des Nibelungen returns to Budapest’s Wagner Days festival in 2019. We will be there to see all four operas, staged on consecutive nights (as Wagner intended) – with Kossuth Prize winner Ádám Fischer the inspirational artistic leader and conductor. In between performances, there is time to visit key sights in the Hungarian capital, including a tour of the Liszt Academy, with a private concert by one of its students. Nevertheless, Wagner is the main focus; his masterpiece enhanced by the wonderfully clear and intimate acoustic of the Béla Bartók Concert Hall.
We meet at the hotel at 6.30pm. Leave the hotel on foot for dinner together with our expert speaker – dramaturg and musicologist Simon Rees.
A guided walking tour of the city follows our first lecture. The walk includes the Hungarian Parliament Building, St Stephen’s Basilica, and the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau. In the afternoon, transfer by coach to Müpa Budapest for our first performance – Das Rheingold – with Danish baritone Johan Reuter as Wotan.
The Liszt Academy was founded by the composer in 1875, and includes Bartók amongst its alumni. Following our second lecture we tour its splendid Neo-Renaissance building, and enjoy a recital by one of its students. At 4pm the curtain rises on our second opera, Die Walküre. Acclaimed Heldentenor Stuart Skelton is Siegmund, while Catherine Foster plays Brünnhilde, a role she has taken six times at the Bayreuth Festival.
Our third lecture is followed by a midday tour of the magnificent Hungarian State Opera House, opened in 1884. Later, we transfer by coach from the hotel to Müpa for Siegfried at 4pm. German tenor and Bayreuth veteran Stefan Vinke plays the title role.
Simon Rees’ concluding lecture is followed by some free time in Budapest, ahead of the final opera. Transfer by coach for the last time for Götterdämmerung, at 4pm.
The trip finishes at our hotel after breakfast.
Please note: all performances are semi-staged, sung in German with Hungarian surtitles only.
From 1989 to 2012, Simon was dramaturg at the Welsh National Opera – with a responsibility for librettos, programme notes, translations, talks and research. Among his collaborations are an opera, Twm Sion Cati, written with Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch, and a piece for a saxophone quartet and spoken voice, The Head of Brass, with Peter Reynolds. His surtitle translations for Wagner's Ring Cycle have been used by Scottish Opera, Opera North, the Mariinsky Opera and other companies. He has published three novels and two volumes of poetry, and is a frequent contributor to Opera, Opera Now, Musical Opinion and Bachtrack.
"Simon Rees was very enthusiastic and approachable, offering interesting insights into the Ring and its history." (participant on The Ring in Dresden in 2018, led by Simon Rees)
£1,225 per person sharing in a double room
£1,365 for one person in a double room
The price includes the speaker and a tour manager, category two opera tickets, accommodation with daily breakfasts, one dinner with wine, transport by private coach, admissions to sites as mentioned in the itinerary.
Please note flights are not included.
Medosz Hotel, Budapest (3 stars)
A reasonable level of fitness is required for the daytime activities. However, we will be travelling to and from the operas by coach.
Between 5 and 25 participants.
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.