Tag Archive: Jessica Carulla Leon

Dismissed → Celebrated: Béla Bartók

“The Wooden Prince” / “Bluebeard’s Castle”
Hungarian National Ballet / Hungarian National Opera
Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
February 11, 2023

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

“Young Béla, you have no business composing music.”

1. J.Carulla Leon (Fairy Witch) and ensemble, “The Wooden Prince” by L.Velekei, Hungarian National Ballet 2023 © A.Nagy / Hungarian State Opera Such was the spirit and style of the reviews that had been pre-fabricated by the Budapest press prior to the premiere of Béla Bartók’s pantomime ballet “The Wooden Prince” in May 1917. Instead, the piece was an enormous success – prompting a busy night of rewrites for the journalists. It marked Bartók’s Hungarian breakthrough – a shift in the attitude of his home audience towards his work. As a result, the opera house finally agreed to stage Bartók’s Symbolist opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” in 1918 after seven years’ waiting for a premiere. Over the last century, versions of both works have remained in constant rotation in the repertoire of the Hungarian National Opera. I saw the premiere of a new work – Velekei’s “Wooden Prince” – presented in a double bill alongside a 2018 staging of “Bluebeard’s Castle”. (more…)

A Hushed-Up Scandal

Ballet of the Hungarian State Opera
Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
March 19, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. Ensemble, “Mayerling” by K.MacMillan, Ballet of the Hungarian State Opera 2022 © P.Rákossy / Hungarian State OperaEighteen years after its Hungarian premiere, Kenneth MacMillan’s “Mayerling” returned to the stage of Budapest’s newly renovated State Opera this March. According to a local dance critic, audience members cried while watching the 2004 performance, as the tragic 1889 death of Crown Prince Rudolf (heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary) is a chapter of Hungarian history that stirs up many emotions. Though he led a life of debauchery and primarily performed insignificant tasks in his role, the liberal-leaning Crown Prince was popular among the people. They pinned great hope on him, (more…)