Photo by Thomas Frey/age fotostock
Opera House, Budapest
Built between 1875 and 1884, the neo-Renaissance Opera House is worth a visit for the architecture alone. Purchase a box seat in one of the gilded balconies for a closer view of the baroque chandeliers. For a more raucous experience, head three blocks down to Giero. In this cellar bar, listen to several generations of men play passionate Hungarian Gypsy tunes on their violins and cimbaloms (Hungarian dulcimers) while women prepare and serve home-style dishes such as pörkölt, a paprika-laced stew. This appeared in the July/August 2011 issue.
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Visited the Opera House in Budapest last weekend and not only the city but the opera house is all dressed up for Christmas. As you enter the building, you immediately spot the tree and if you're lucky, will hear an aria bringing the building alive. You can take tours of the opera house and even enjoy a mini concert.
By Michael Adubato, AFAR Local Expert
Art and History Collide at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest
Budapest, Hungary is brimming with art, culture and a touch of decadence. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Hungarian State Opera House on the luxurious Andrássy Way. If you don't have the time or money take in a concert in this opulent theatre, you can still get a dose of culture by taking one of the daily guided tours. Crane your neck to take in the ceiling murals and twinkling chandeliers while you sit in the plush velvet seats. Sweep down the grand staircase of the main hall and play out your fantasies of living life at court. (Or, you know, just learn about the theatre, without all of the dramatic bits.) Tours are given in Hungarian, English, German, Spanish, Italian and French everyday, and Japanese several times a week. You can also stay for a mini concert in the theatre. After the tour, pop next door to the Callas Restaurant where you can sip champagne on the terrace while admiring the Opera House's stunning facade.
By Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Local Expert
Ballet at the Hungarian State Opera
We had a fantastic night watching "Aranyecset" at the Opera House. Prior to our arrival in Budapest I did some research on the internet and found out that tickets to the opera house were dirt cheap, the cheapest ones started at around 3 Euros, we got some which were a bit more expensive for a better view. The plot (a Hungarian story about an artist) was a bit difficult to understand since I could not find any English synopsis online but during the break we asked our neighbour next to explain to us and he kindly did so. I highly recommend getting tickets to see a performance at the beautiful opera house, it was definitely the highlight of our whole trip.
By Hati Le
Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
+36 1 814 7100