Snowdapest: At the Opera

DSC_0133 op xFellow tourists get up close and personal with this jaunt through the opera house.

One day I may actually go to an opera, but for another time I am making a visit to one. Magyar Állami Operaház, or the Hungarian State Opera House, followed my visit to the opera house in Vienna. In truth, the visit to the Wien one is a lot cheaper, but the young lady who gave the tour in English was so wonderful, exhuberant and sincere, it was well worth coming out of the snow for.

day and nightopera DSC_0162-x stairway2Not as showy as Paris, nor as large as Vienna. This place packs a punch for detail.

The scale of the Paris Opera House is astounding. Vienna, no small potatoes actually pales in size to the Garnier. As told by our guide,  Emperor Franz Joseph half financed the project, with the stipulation it never be as large as Vienna. Who cares, the detail is quite beautiful, with a lot of materials actually local.

opera double interiorDSC_0112xDuring this period of Austria-Hungarian design one looks up and down, as ceilings and floors are just as much part of the design, as walls are. They are part of the design, not just supplements to the wall design.

opera ceiling 2 DSC_0199-x

Sadly, when I shot you could see one opera ceiling 3section had peeled in one section (click image left, see mid-right). The amount of design and painting that goes into work like this is amazing. The fact that over a one hundred year period, and especially WWII ruin, to survive, much less this beautifully, is amazing.

One must remember the idiot Soviet soldiers actually fired on one Budapest museum facade, thinking it was a government building. The Russian embassy up the street was destroyed by the Germans, I believe (can’t read Hungarian), so I couldn’t quite make out info in front of the embassy. I asked our young guide had the Opera House been bombed at all, during WWII. She said a bomb came through the ceiling onstage, but was not live. Amazing, how fate works.

This type of ceiling painting was extremely common in Vienna. I saw it both in Kunsthistoriches and Naturhistoriches Museums, as well as the MAK. So was the black and white mosaic design, which I believe comes from the Romans (right below).

opera double interior22 2opera ceiling painting opera ceiling river god and three gracesThe richness of fine detail is really quite a reminder how much Europeans put into interior design. The bare-chested guys are all over Budapest.

opera staircasesI love how the stairs don’t come down to a landing, but end right under the doorway (right).

opera wallsx

opera doorsWoodwork was very beautiful, and I was shocked how modern doors were, with so many different treatments.

A Dohányzóba the smoking roomA Dohányzóba (the smoking room) once the fashion.

DSC_0296xThe auditorium was wonderful, as they were preparing for a show for the Beatles and we got to sit in the theater as our guide went over the history and important points. It was great to be in a live theater atmosphere.

opera master of the universeDoesn’t she feel like a master of the universe?

opera back theater composite

opera wowWow, huh? Catch the sole figure second tier down.

opera theater ceilingTheater chandelier  and accompanying ceiling painting by Karl Lotz.

opera exterior statuesErkel on one side and Liszt on the other, both instrumental in their influence on this opera house.

The young tour guide told us that what was supposed to be originally fountains, like in Vienna, became these sphinx. Since they did everything well, the fountains might have been fine, when I think of Vienna there is so much more room for them. The sphinx, she said, were tied into the first opera, Aida.

opera outsideWhy in the world would I want to see an Opera house? For the simple reason these structures usher in movies palaces into the 20th century. The Atlanta Fox is a great example.


A statue so rich, you get the feeling she is laughing over our own folly and with us.

DSC_0136xMy real disappointment because of time and the weather was missing out on Monument Park, and the Soviet era statues, but seeing the Opera House was a real treat. I guess I will have to go back at another time.


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One Response to “Snowdapest: At the Opera”

  1. dweebcentric Says:

    My favorite part about the history of the Budapest Opera House was that it was built for an Emperor who wasn’t actually interested in actually watching a performance there. Or so the legend goes.

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