Róbert Zentai has worked as the stage manager of the Budapest Festival Orchestra for thirty years. In addition to countless tours and concerts, the opera productions have also been a wonderful experience and challenge for him. Let's celebrate our 40th birthday with BFO stories!
"It’s not always easy to bring Iván Fischer’s ideas to life, but the result is always a huge success. I was most impressed by the performance of Don Giovanni. I was fascinated by how human bodies were used as the set on the stage: there was nothing else but human beings and music, and everything could be expressed through them.
The Magic Flute and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo were challenges regarding both their performance and the path that led there. In the latter case, we had to present the mysteriousness of the opera. We developed special lighting technology and the set was also unique. We built a transparent ship, which everybody admired. It seemed to be made out of glass and float on the imaginary river where Charon carries people to the underworld. The whole thing had to look as if it was only a creation of fantasy.
This kind of project involves a lot of brainstorming and discussion. Sometimes it turns out that something doesn’t work. For example, we had to rethink Falstaff’s basket several times along the way due to new functions appearing again and again, but in the end, all the elements of the opera worked.
I’ve been working together with Iván for a very long time. He knows exactly how much I love challenges. If something can be solved, I will solve it, and if I don’t think an idea can be realized, he will usually accept it."
Photo: Gábor Máté