The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Mozart concerts captured the hearts of four more European cities, from London’s Royal Festival Hall to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The BFO will be bidding adieu to its Budapest audience with the free concert of the Dancing on the Square project in Heroes’ Square on 3 June.
Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) performed seven concerts in the space of ten days, in four European cities – London, Bruges, Baden-Baden and Amsterdam. The musicians also held two Choose Your Instrument workshops in London, and gave a masterclass to the talented young musicians of the National Youth Orchestra. The BFO toured with Iván Fischer’s latest opera production, The Magic Flute, alongside their Mozart programme which you might have seen previously at Müpa Budapest. The concert in Bruges was broadcast live by Mezzo (watch it here), making it available in 28 million households worldwide.
“In Magnificent Form”
This is what The Guardian had to say about the orchestra’s concert in London: “Fischer’s direction is witty [and] playful” … “Fischer conducted it with infectious joy.” According to the reviewer, the BFO’s playing was beyond criticism and the only downside was that there was just one UK performance.
The Financial Times also covered the Festival Orchestra’s concert, emphasising how they were “marvellously alert and inventive”.
The Art Desk’s reviewer said that “Mozart's message, that music unites us all, is timeless, and Fischer, as well as being a master technician among conductors, is one of its most inspiring ambassadors in the world today.” The review in The Critic’s Circle wrote of how the BFO “was in magnificent form”, that “there were glories from start to finish”. “This opera is about the power of music to protect and transform our enlightened humanity:” the author added, “by restoring its innocence and idealism Fischer does us all a favour”.
“Clear and Lively”
According to one of the reviews of the Amsterdam concert, the Mozart evening “began with a very pleasant surprise” when Zsolt Fejérvári, leader of the double-bass section, demonstrated his extraordinary mechanical skills in Per questa bella mano. The author wrote about how the BFO’s orchestral sound is clear and lively. The article said the first act of The Magic Flute was magical, and the harmony between the orchestra and the choir was at its the most gripping in the Requiem’s Dies irae and Rex tremendae movements.
“What ideas, what richness!” – said another Dutch review. The reviewer emphasised the “splendid” playing and “tender sound” of Ákos Ács, leader of the clarinet section during Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major. In the encore, Ács also showed that he is a capable entertainer with his instrument. According to the review, The Magic Flute had many witty, even sublime moments, but the essence of Fischer and the orchestra truly showed through in the Requiem, which the BFO, the Collegium Vocale Gent and the four soloists (Norma Nahoun, Barbara Kozelj, Bernard Richter and Hanno Müller-Brachmann) performed with outstanding balance and homogeneous sound.
The BFO will be bidding adieu to its Budapest audience with the free concert of the Dancing on the Square project in Heroes’ Square on 3 June, where 500 children from disadvantaged communities will be dancing together to the BFO’s music.