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A Britten Opera, Mahler and International Stars in BFO’s New Season


A Britten Opera, Mahler and International Stars in BFO’s New Season

The Festival Orchestra will provide the free European premiere of a Philip Glass piece in June, while preparing for the new season with a new opera, third symphonies and a Prokofiev Marathon. The Iván’s Stories series, as well as introducing stars from abroad, will continue from September: Miah Persson, Vilde Frang, Midori Seiler and Rudolf Buchbinder, among others, will take the stage. Season passes and single tickets, as well as flexible season passes, for the new season will be available to the general public from April 7 and 12 May, respectively.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra will premiere The Passion of Ramakrishna by Philip Glass in Europe in a free concert. The piece, written by the American composer in 2006 about the guru of 19th century India who is revered as a saint, will be performed on June 18 in Heroes’ Square. Before that, still in this season, the orchestra will be performing at the opening concert of the Budapest Spring Festival on April 30, while on May 28, audiences are invited to a free family day.

The new season has also been revealed: as its overture, the BFO’s music director will once again direct an opera in September. World-famous Swedish soprano Miah Persson will sing the title role of The Turn of the Screw, a chamber opera composed by Benjamin Britten in 1954. The story of two orphans and their Governess is made creepy by the ghosts of a former Governess and a former Manservant. Iván Fischer thinks this work is highly relevant now. “It is about different realities. Some can see the ghosts, some can’t. Those who can see them don’t believe that the others can’t. As if we were looking for the truth in different bubbles.” The Henry James novella on which the opera is based may be familiar from different films, including The Others starring Nicole Kidman, and it has recently been also featured in a series entitled The Haunting of Hill House.

Mahler’s monumental ninth, to be performed next January, stands out from the other symphonies of the season: according to Herbert von Karajan, the composition, lasting almost an hour and a half, “is music coming from another world; it is coming from eternity.” The concert offered by the BFO for November is an absolute must: following a Baroque introduction, the enchanting Vilde Frang, a returning guest, will be playing one of the most demanding concertos in musical history, Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and then Schubert’s Symphony in C major “The Great” will conclude the program. From among the other symphonies of the season, those composed by Brahms, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saëns and Beethoven are uniformly the third. Symphony No. 3 of the latter composer will be part of the Bridging Europe program series co-organized with Müpa Budapest, this time focusing on Amsterdam. The September concert will also feature a contemporary Dutch piece, where almost only the rhythm is prescribed, and a Mozart piano concerto composed for his sister and himself and also performed by two young siblings, the Jussen brothers.

György Ligeti would have been a hundred years old in 2023. The world-renowned Hungarian composer will be remembered on several occasions in the upcoming season: his unique pieces - including his last completed work, With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles, inspired by the poems of Sándor Weöres, and the famous Poème symphonique, featuring 100 metronomes - will be performed at both the Liszt Academy and Müpa Budapest.

At the Liszt Academy, the Haydn–Mozart series will continue under the baton of GáborTakács-Nagy, just like the Baroque concerts performed on period instruments. Of course, in the upcoming season there will also be a Christmas Surprise Concert and an all-day Marathon organized jointly with Müpa Budapest, focusing this time on the oeuvre of Prokofiev, who died 70 years ago. Midnight Music, with its more relaxed atmosphere, is still extremely popular, while those preferring to visit the weekend afternoon matinées to listen to Iván Fischer’s entertaining stories about the compositions may choose the highly successful Iván’s Stories series.

In addition to the Festival Orchestra’s artists, as well as Frang and the Dutch siblings, the season will feature several international soloists and returning guests, including French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, outstanding cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, the artistic director of the Baroque concert; another Baroque specialist and returning BFO guest Midori Seiler, and legendary Rudolf Buchbinder, whose career spans six decades and who will perform Schumann’s only completed piano concerto next May.

The BFO, considered one of the top ten orchestras in the world, will be joined, as usual, by guest conductors in the upcoming season: in addition to first guest conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy, Robin Ticciatti and Louis Langrée will return to us, while Andrés Orozco-Estrada, the Colombian music director of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the BFO for the first time.

The models of the photos in the season brochure presenting the BFO’s new season in detail were members of the orchestra, the staff and the audience. The photos reflect the meeting of music and fantasy: our models, each having listened to a different orchestral piece from this season, talked about their feelings and thoughts, inspiring photographer László Mészáros to create a unique and picturesque series. The digital version of the full season brochure can be browsed, new season passes will be available to the general public from April 7, while tickets and flexible season passes can be purchased from May 12 at the orchestra’s website.