Julia Fischer and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Branford Marsalis and friends, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Péter Eötvös, David Fray and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Company FrenÁk, Uri Caine, Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Recirquel Budapest, Philippe Herreweghe and the Collegium Vocale Gent, the Royal Ballet Fehérvár, Boban Marković Orkestar, Arturo Sandoval, Ramón Vargas, BANDALOOP, Maxim Vengerov and the Pannon Philharmonic, Igudesman & Joo. The Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks awaits audiences with a rich array of exciting events between 1 and 17 April in Budapest, and from 21 April in Miskolc, Győr, Debrecen, Pécs and Szeged.
“Béla Bartók’s figure, oeuvre, creativity and outlook continue to be an endless source of inspiration. From the purest source: this is one of his most important ideas, one that also gives 21st century man substantial food for thought. What do we draw on? What is it that defines us? How do we renew, how do we make what we create fresh and real? To seek the pure source, to interpret and process our heritage, to integrate our present: this is an increasingly important mission. With the Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks, we aim to showcase the stunning talent of today’s best artists, across a wide range of genres, from classical music through jazz, the visual arts, world and popular music, to opera to dance,” says Csaba Káel, CEO of Müpa Budapest, which presents an event series that encompasses all the arts. Speaking on the 141st birthday of Béla Bartók, he stressed that the eponymous festival will now offer colourful performances not only in Budapest, but in other cities across the country as well.
There will certainly be no shortage of novelties, surprises, world premieres and innovative collaborations at the Bartók Spring. The festival presents the Hungarian premiere of Péter Eötvös’s 13th opera: Sleepless, which is based on the first novella in the Trilogy of world-famous Norwegian author Jon Fosse, will be performed at a concert at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, with the composer conducting. Kossuth Prize-winning choreographer Pál Frenák and his company will premiere their Secret Off_Man. Director-choreographer Bence Vági’s Recirquel Budapest, the company that originated the genre of cirque danse, also bring a new show to the Bartók Spring. The joint dance theatre production of the Boban Marković Orkestar and the Royal Ballet Fehérvár also promises unforgettable moments. The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s dance production for the Easter holiday draws on the ancient peasant customs and songs of regions in the Carpathian Basin that lie at great distances from each other, and is certain to engage audiences of all ages.
Pianist David Fray will take to the stage with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, István Várdai and Kristóf Baráti, Dénes Várjon and the Concerto Budapest will delight the audience with two concerts and an exceptional Bartók programme, while pianist Dániel Villányi will perform masterpieces by Bach, Bartók and Prokofiev. One of the brightest stars of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, 2019 Vocalist of the Year, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo will dazzle audiences with Handel arias, in the company of the Orfeo Orchestra and conductor György Vashegyi at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall.
Contemporary jazz legend Branford Marsalis comes to the festival with his quartet and a programme that includes a work that was commissioned by Müpa Budapest and was inspired by Hungarian folk music. Eminent American composer and musician Uri Caine’s Bartók Project promises to be a special treat of a concert partly because it will feature such outstanding musicians of the Hungarian jazz scene as Miklós Lukács, Petra Várallyay and Mátyás Szandai. The Hungarian premiere of Pure Source will be memorable for the lovers of world and folk music, the enthusiast of contemporary ballet and folk dance alike. The outstanding Hungarian-Moroccan singer, Mesi Guessous, the Ballet Company of Győr and the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s dance troupe and orchestra are some of the performers who revisit Bartók’s collection of Hungarian and Arabic music: following the highly successful world premiere, the Hungarian audience will be able to see the production at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall on 8 April.
The Bartók Spring will host the region’s most exciting world music event, Budapest Ritmo, which brings the whole world to the heart of Budapest between 7 and 10 April, with a wealth of musical and filmic treats, professional events and wonderful performers including the Israeli-Persian Liraz, the West African Amadou & Mariam, the Portuguese fado singer, António Zambujo, and Boi Akih, who play Indonesian-Dutch-Guinean-Hungarian fusion jazz. And in Győr, Miskolc and Debrecen, the audience can look forward to an effervescent festival atmosphere and a world music picnic.
This year, Bartók Spring will also be the favourite festival of the lovers of art: on 9 April 2022 the Museum of Fine Arts presents Between Heaven and Hell: The Enigmatic World of Hieronymus Bosch, the largest ever exhibition of Bosch in Central Europe; from 8 April the Ludwig Museum will be showing the exhibition, Extended Present: Global States of Transitoriness; and opening on 12 April, the Hungarian National Gallery’s exhibition will focus on the visual culture of Hungarian art deco, with a special focus on poster art and modern metropolitan life.
In late April, Debrecen, Győr and Miskolc await festival-goers with a rich programme, featuring Cuban jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, the brilliant Mexican tenor, Ramón Vargas, the great violinist, Maxim Vengerov, the American pioneers of vertical dance, BANDALOOP, the world-famous musical comedy duo, Igudesman & Joo, and Sergei Krylov, who will appear in concert with the Kodály Philharmonic. The most exciting singer-songwriters of the Hungarian popular music scene, including Ohnody, Дeva, Saya Noé and Cristina Drimba will give concerts, while the Ballet Company of Győr, the Szeged Contemporary Dance Company, the Ballet Pécs and the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble will charm audiences with magical motion. The Ritmo Piknik will showcase the Bohemian Betyars, Los Orangutanes, Julcsi Paár, MORDÁI, the Dresch Mihály Ballance Trio, Napfonat, and the Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra.