Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest

FROM The man in the front seat / April 20, 2018

Opened: 1884

Capacity: 1261

Located in Budapest, the Hungarian State Opera house is one of the most renowned in Europe. Originally called the Hungarian Royal Opera House, it’s construction began in 1875 to the designs of Miklós Ybl and was financed by the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. Only 9 years were needed to complete the work when it was opened to the public on 27thSeptember 1884.

Music in Budapest

Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, brought a calmness to her empire that was reflected in a flourishing of the arts, particularly music. By the early 19thcentury many touring groups started arriving in the Hungarian capital, with several deciding to make Budapest their new home. One of these, the Kasa National Opera and Theatre Group, located themselves in the Castle theatre and came under the tutor ledge of the great Hungarian composer and conductor Ferenc Erkel. In 1940, they changed their name to the National Theatre, and when the Hungarian Royal Opera House was opened in 1884, the opera section moved into the building. Their reputation grew quickly through the 130 performances they made annually which included a repertory of 45-50 operas

Many well-known composers have been directors of the opera, including Gustaf Mahler between 1888-91 and Otto Klemperer between 1947-50

The Building

Although its size and capacity are not amongst the greatest opera houses, it’s incredible beauty along with the quality of its acoustics make the Hungarian State opera House one of the finest in the world.


Built in a neo-Renaissance style, with Baroque elements, the symmetrical façade follows a musical theme with main entrance being guarded by figures of Franz Liszt and Ferenc Erkel, who was not only the first director of the opera, but also compsed the Hungarian National Anthem.


Wonderful marble columns support the vaulted ceiling of the foyer which is covered in murals by Bertalan Székely and Mór Than depicting the Nine Muses.The wide stone staircase in the main entrance, which allowed ladies to show off their new gowns, is illuminated by beautiful wrought iron lamps of the 19thcentury.

The main hall is decorated by a 3050kg (7200lb) chandelier which illuminates the a magnificent fresco of the Greek gods on Olympus by Károly Lotz.


Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest
Hungarian State Opera House.
Hungarian State Opera House.
Hungarian State Opera House.
Franz Liszt. Hungarian State Opera House
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