Christmas Surprise Concert
About the program
The Festival Orchestra launched its surprise concert series ten years ago. The new format was very successful from the start. The Italian Institute, which hosted the first “experimental” concert, was filled to capacity, showing that a great many people believed originator-conductor Iván Fischer would offer an adventure worth taking.
A quick reminder of the surprises Iván Fischer has served up to the audiences of former concerts: Richard Strauss’ wonderful The Legend of Joseph; Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto, featuring a 12-year-old Júlia Pusker; Richard Strauss’ arias and lieder, rendered by American soprano Christine Brewer; Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s trumpet concerto, with Norwegian virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger playing the solo; The Silver Lake, Kurt Weill’s gripping opera that is all but unknown in Hungary; an orchestral arrangement of a Brahms piano concerto by Schoenberg; Mozart’s K. 488 piano concerto, performed by the 92-year-old Lívia Rév, who lives in France; presentation of works by Salieri, who in Hungary is practically known only from Mozart-related legends; Mozart’s K. 453 piano concerto in a performance by Menahem Pressler; and the Hungarian premiere of Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, a piece written for birds and orchestra. György Pauk and world-famous pianist Alfred Brendel also bade farewell to the Budapest audience at a BFO surprise concert. Further, it was on the occasion of a surprise concert that, during Stravinsky’s Tango, two members of the orchestra took to the floor, presenting a tango that gave Argentine professionals a run for their money. The audience of another surprise programme saw the dancer interpreting Ravel’s Bolero tie herself, in the course of her performance, to the conducting Fischer, making the production truly unique.