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We attended the opening ceremony of Old Buda in Óbuda on Thursday, Tereskova’s concert in Gödör on Friday, popped in to the Gozsdu Manó Club on Saturday, and then had a once-in-a-lifetime Midnight Music experience on Sunday.


If someone had told me on Sunday afternoon that I would shed tears of emotion in the evening, I would have laughed at them. This is because I “only” headed off to attend a night-time project of the Festival Orchestra, now for the second time, because on the previous occasion I simply forgot that I might have things to do in the concert arena on Sunday night… Now I regret that I missed the occasion because I will happily skip my Sunday evening relaxation, provided Iván Fischer and the Orchestra are playing.  What makes the Midnight Music so good? All we knew so far was that music was played at night and audience could roll about on beanbags. In addition, arriving by bicycle is really appreciated. This in itself would suffice. The bonus was that these particular Sunday night beanbags were not only placed between the Orchestra and the “regular seats” of the grandstand area of the Millenáris, but some of them were even inserted between the Orchestra’s chairs forming a circle. You had the chance to sit next to the violinist or pianist’s feet, experiencing instrumental music so close that you would otherwise never have the chance to do, unless you come from a family of musicians. Due to our bad joints we sat down on the grandstand, which provided a magnificent and full view of the very motley and very lively stage. It was very nice of Iván Fischer, standing on his conductor’s stand from the moment the gates were opened, to actively assist everyone in finding their place. His brief and witty announcements provide proof of a musician who is knowledgeable of music history (too), but he does not boast about it; instead, he would like to “initiate” people who are currently unfamiliar with classical music.  Humour is a tool for such initiation which quickly gets “delinquents” committed to music for the long haul… Only one thing proved stronger than humour that evening: the music itself. When the first bars of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto (No. 3, in C major) sounded softly and gently, it was so unexpected and magnificent that I burst into tears. Not for the last time that night though. The lovely thing about the whole evening was that the musicians dressed “casually”, e.g. guest pianist Alexander Toradze, also an authority on Prokofiev, played the piece wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The whole thing was colourful, cheerful, light-hearted and happy. However, the real surprise came when a familiar part of Borodin’s opera (familiar to many of us, as it turned out) entitled Prince Igor was performed. Some of the ladies sitting at musicians’ feet, who we thought were part of the audience, sprang to their feet when the women’s choir entered, and joined in the performance singing. After our surprise (tears included), men scattered among audience in the grandstand jumped to their feet to complete the piece by adding the men’s choir (all from the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno). It was magnificent. In addition to the continuous applause, cheering and stomping, it was truly beautiful at the end of the concert that people behind and in front hugged and thanked each other spontaneously for being part of such a superb experience. Anything to add? Yes. The next date is 26 April.