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Inaugurating Spring 2002 in Budapest

Budapest Redoute (Vigadó) Concert Hall
03/30/2002 -  
Budapest Spring Festival
Joseph Haydn: Die Schöpfung

Cornelia Horak (soprano), Helmut Wildhaber (tenor) and Alfred Reiter (bass), Heinz Ferlesch (Choirmaster)
New Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra and the Wiener Singakademie, Adám Fischer (Conductor),

It was a pleasure to hear the New Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra performing Haydn's Creation brilliantly in the composer's spirit at the Budapest Redoute. The composers most grandiose oratorio presented to us by artists from the two countries where the composer was born (in Austria), and where he mostly worked (in Hungary at the court of Prince Esterhŕzy). The Austrian soloists were up to their task: Cornelia Horak, from the Wiener Volksoper, with her transparent and elegant interpretation, Helmut Wildhaber and Alfred Reiter both excellent in their role. They all have the right voices to interpret this masterpiece.

Maestro Adam Fischer is a specialist of the Haydn repertoire and conducted with his usual zeal. The Wiener Singakademie gave an enthusiastic interpretation, translating the words of Milton and reinterpreting for us the seven days of the Creation on Saturday evening of the Holy Week, the night of the resurrection in magic Budapest.

The orchestra was precise and well prepared to play this masterpiece. It has to be underligned that the Haydn Orchestra brings together the best artists from Hungary and Austria and plays during the international Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt Austria.

But this was only a taste of this impressive festival. The Budapest Spring Festival (16th March to 1st April) works with a very small budget but offers a quite incredible number (about 70) and a great array of performances: concerts, ranging from renaissance to contemporary music; from opera to ballet; exhibits and happenings in galleries, museums and the streets of Budapest. This capital is always a lively town full of cultural events, yet there is even more during these two weeks.

This year it was the German Land of Baden-Württemberg that was the special guest region of the Festival. To mention the most important performances: the Opera of Stuttgart performed the Haendel's Alcina and at the Hungarian State Operahouse, the International Bachakademie Stuttgart performed Bach's Saint John's Passion. Outstanding concerts were performed by the Concertus Musicus Wien and the Arnold Schönberg Choir conducted by Maestro Harnoncourt, and by Les Musiciens du Louvres - Grenoble, under Maestro Minkovski. The Musiciens' concert was so appreciated by the Hungarian public that he offered the incredible number of six encores to thank them for the ovation.

This festival gives the opportunity to discover eastern European artists such as the ensemble Opus Posth. founded recently in 1999 under the direction of Tatjana Gridenko that puts the emphasis on closer relationship between the performer and the audience, or more known ensembles like Jurij Bashmet and his Moscow Soloists.

Hungarian performers are not forgotten, we could hear the famous Budapest Festival Orchestra which was born with the festival, and also less known Hungarian artists of high quality that do not always have the support of important international agencies and impresarios that could lead them to international fame.

The festival was closed by Kiri Te Kanawa's magnificent recital with the Budapest Concert Orchestra (MAV) and Robin Stapleton, Kiri Te Kaneva's usual conductor for her recital performances, at the Budapest Conference Centre (April 1st). Even with reduced vocal potentials, due to a cold, she was able to enchant us with her voice and the airs that she sung.

Zoltán Bécsi



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