The last time we heard that one of the best tenors would sing in Budapest, we rushed to hear him. It was back in March 2008, the tenor was Roberto Alagna and the concert took place in MUPA, in front of a highly enthusiastic audience. It was a huge success, which also showed at the signing event afterwards.
So we have been waiting for anything similar to happen again in Budapest. Circumstances are excellent in the modern concert hall, audiences are among the most savvy and are always eager to hear and cheer the best.
We find it a bit saddening that up till now, no similar events have taken place. However, this is changing rapidly as Placido Domingo performed in the Budapest Opera House this past February. It was not his concert, but the fact that he appeared in Budapest nearly after 30 years of his previous performance signalled a welcome change of direction. Somebody must have been heartened by the event and taken steps. According to fresh news, “The famous Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo is giving a free concert on August 10 at 8pm outside the St. Stephen’s Basilica, in Budapest.” Read more about this here. Great news. And it will happen smack in the middle of the tourist season and will prove a huge success for sure. Only thing one may not be sure of is proper acoustics and the program, which does not seem to include opera arias. But perhaps this is not the right place.
The real huge event will take place on 20 January 2017. José Carreras will have just turned 70 by that time and will have been touring the world’s important stages with his last concert tour, called ‘A Life in Music‘. Opera lovers the world over can listen to this wonderful voice in concert one more time, then another member of the “three great tenors” is retiring, fortunately not the way the first one left us.
Although he is reported to have said he was happy to sing in that special Arena, we are wondering about the concert hall: the Arena he referred to is the relatively new Papp László Budapest Sportarena, a venue for sports events, pop and rock concerts, befitting André Rieu (who performed there two months ago) or the Red Hot Chili Peppers (performing there on 2nd September) (for those interested in similar up-coming events here is a link with programmes).
Anyway, if such a singer comes to Budapest, and certainly for the last time, the largest possible space should be provided, organizers must have thought. The Arena can accommodate 12500 people, no other venue can have such a large audience. As the concert takes place in January, no open stadium would be suitable, though we are sure his voice would fill any place.
Those people who would like to arrive in Hungary specifically for this concert can look for hotels in the area here and find some more information about the venue. More programmes of the Arena can be found in Dutch here, a site which also shows ticket prices together with the possibility to book tickets. The Hungarian site, where it is also possible to book tickets, can be accessed here, with prices in HUF. Perhaps surprisingly, most of the tickets are still available, including those closest to the stage. Well, not really for the pocket of the average Hungarian opera enthusiast perhaps. But then again, the cheapest tickets are around €40, that should be affordable for such a sensational performance. Wish you can also go and hopefully reflect on the event next year.
by P.S. and S.Z.J.