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Miah Persson Fischer Iván

An orchestra that is simultaneously bohemian, charming and virtuoso. A conductor who is regarded as one of the world’s best and most exciting. Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra have just completed their second successful European tour of the season, thrilling audiences everywhere from Istanbul to Barcelona.

“There’s incredible artistic freedom in this orchestra. They react to each other in a beautiful way. No concert is like the other one, and I find that so amazing. They can work as one body.  This orchestra has the artistic freedom, the giving and taking of ideas which magically works” says Swedish soprano Miah Persson, who was on tour together with the Budapest Festival Orchestra from Istanbul to Barcelona between 6 and 15 October. The orchestra’s programme was also enriched by the Greek baritone Tassis Christoyannis, whose performance, according to one Hungarian reviewer “combined cold fire with ethereal naivety, while still exuding warmth”.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra delighted its international audiences, including the music critics, with its programme of Mahler and Strauss. The orchestra was lauded in reviews as “humorous and bohemian”, yet also “incredibly charming” with its “warm, rich, magnificent and ethereal” sound, its “entrancingly beautiful tones” and its “virtuoso, lyrical and stylish” playing, under the baton of “one of the world’s most exciting conductors”.

One of the key stops on the tour was Istanbul, where the Budapest Festival Orchestra gave its fourth concert within a year, providing a unique experience to the audience in a city where classical music does not yet have an established tradition. Ivan Fischer and the orchestra also won the hearts of the children in Istanbul with a Cocoa Concert ahead of the evening concert. (Click here to see a clip from the Cocoa Concert)

The orchestra likewise gave a resoundingly successful performance at one of the most important festivals in Central and Eastern Europe, the Bratislava Music Festival, in the magnificent and traditional Reduta Concert Hall. After its successes in Antwerp, Utrecht and Heerlen, the orchestra played in one of the world’s most beautiful art nouveau concert halls, the Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music). This hugely successful, full-house concert opened a four-year collaboration that will revolve around Mahler and song.

This season, the Budapest Festival Orchestra introduced the practice of putting down their instruments and singing as a chorus for the encore. They did so in Barcelona too in a remarkable fashion. “After the Mahler symphony, we were treated to one of the most moving encores in Palau’s history, when the members of the orchestra rose and sang in Catalan. It was a precious gift – the perfect end to a wonderful evening,” wrote one of the Catalan reviewers.

Take a look at the photos made during the tour.