Culture & Society Hungary News

Hungarian state opera reopens after years of reconstruction


Budapest, Hungary – Amateurs of pomp and glitters, rejoice: the Hungarian state opera in Budapest reopened to the public this week-end after a years-long revamp.

An opening gala ceremony was held in Budapest’s architectural and cultural landmark on Saturday evening, with President János Áder, President-elect Katalin Novák and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán among the attendees.

The gala evening is part of a five-day festival of musical extravaganza to mark the eagerly anticipated reopening.

The multi-million reconstruction and modernization works had begun in 2017 and were initially supposed to be completed in 2020, before being postponed several times.

During that period, when curious passers-by could only steal a glimpse of the historical building behind scaffoldings, performances were held in the state opera’s other venues in Budapest.

Designed by prominent Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl, the construction of the Neo-Renaissance palace started in 1875. Supported by Austrian Emperor and King of Hungary Franz Joseph I, it officially opened its doors to the public nine years later, on September 27, 1885.

Presiding over the capital’s Andrássy avenue and drawing in thousands of visitors every year , it is considered one of the architect’s masterpieces and became one of the centers for the promotion of Hungarian music, hosting the likes of Gustav Mahler, Otto Klemperer or Ferenc Erkel, composer of the Hungarian national anthem.

A previous renovation was undertaken from 1980 to 1984 and reopened to the public for the 100th anniversary of the institution.

Today, visitors can also visit the Budapest landmark restored to its former glory with guided tours in Hungarian and English from March 15.

For the full program of the season and to plan your visit in advance, be sure to visit the website of the Hungarian state opera and get all the info you need.

Coordinated by Ábel Bede, Kafkadesk's Budapest office is made up of a growing team of freelance journalists, editors and fact-checkers passionate about Hungarian affairs and dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, events and insights from Hungary.