Each fall, the Bridging Europe festival invites you for a special journey: this year, to Great Britain. To experience real British vibes between September 15 and 28, however, you need not board an airplane, since the United Kingdom will come to you in the Hungarian capital, for performances at Müpa Budapest. The spirit of Shakespeare will surround us, along with the melodies of British English; take in the scents of afternoon tea, imagine rolling green parks, red telephone booths and double-decker buses, and let Haydn’s London symphonies fill your ears. Get your senses ready: the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) and Müpa Budapest look forward to welcoming fans of British culture with classical, Baroque and contemporary music, films and literature.
“British culture – with its legendary artists, incredible traditions, exciting contemporaries and icons of popular culture – plays a defining role in the lives of many of us. Few things are as natural as reaching for Shakespeare’s classics on the bookshelf; and if we’re looking for some good laughs, Monty Python is always the perfect choice. The momentous changes going on in the world today, Brexit and the pandemic, only affirm just how important it is for us to pay attention to one another, to understand one another and to learn from one another. This fall, countless British masterpieces and Hungarian artists will be with us to help do just that” – says Csaba Káel, CEO of Müpa Budapest. For the eighth time, the Bridging Europe events will offer a selection of artistic creations of countless different genres, each from a specific country with a rich cultural tradition, Káel notes. On offer will be fine arts, films, as well as classical, world and popular music and literature.
“Great Britain is part of Europe. This remains a fact, despite the Channel, left-hand traffic and Brexit. Shakespeare and Winnie the Pooh will still be part of our culture as well and London will continue to be one of the most important musical hubs of Europe. Therefore, we need to bridge the gap between the island and the continent and showcase the fascinating culture of Britain”, says Iván Fischer, Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, who has once again arranged a diverse musical program for the festival.
Following the 2019 production of L’Orfeo, hugely successful both in Hungary and abroad, world-renowned soprano Emőke Baráth will once again sing with the BFO. For their September 15 Baroque concert, the orchestra will be joined by an unconventional adventurer, the British conductor Christian Curnyn. Purcell, Handel and Boyce – early music with bravado, filled with charm, virtuosity, and unbridled dance.
The festival will dedicate a separate concert on September 16 to the past forty years of British music. Raw energy, and an adventurous journey to infinity. An evening where the composers reflect on the beauties and smallest details of the world that surrounds us. The 20th century marked the beginning of another golden age of music composition in England, which continues to this day – highly recommended! The evening will feature Festival Orchestra cello section leader, Liszt- and Lajtha-Prize-winner Péter Szabó. The concert will be conducted by Franck Ollu, lauded as “a seal of quality beyond question.”
What must it be like to explore three countries in one single night? Find out with the Festival Orchestra on September 24 or 26! Following a Haydn march, Benjamin Britten’s opera will tell a tale of the sea; Serenade is a setting of poems by prominent British poets. MacMillan’s piece is reminiscent of Scottish folk dances, with the concert concluding with Haydn’s London symphony.
Enthusiasts of lighter genres – and specifically Irish pub music – will be glad to see Firkin featured on the concert line-up, especially because the band will share the stage with such popular performers as Ági Szalóki, James Karácsony, Attila Szabó and Gergő Baricz. And, in fact, Hungary’s first Pink Floyd tribute band, Keep Floyding, will also be there at Müpa Budapest with legendary songs by their famous forerunners.
When it comes to literary journeys, there is no better guide than Ádám Nádasdy, who guarantees that the evening he arranged will offer the audience nothing but true gems: in addition to Shakespeare, Byron and Tennyson, the audience will also “hear” from Burns, a Scotsman, and Yeats, an Irishman, interpreted by such outstanding actors as Andrea Fullajtár, Eszter Ónodi, Tamás Fodor and Károly Hajduk. Lovers of British motion pictures will have an opportunity to re-watch some essential classics, with discussions to accompany each, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, The End of the Affair and Animal Farm. Before and after the concerts, movies and discussions, visitors can stop by an exciting exhibition tied to the festival, entitled From Purcell to Punk: The British Way.
The program and the soloist line-up is subject to change according to current epidemiological measures. We appreciate your understanding.