Alongside the advancement of the nation-building process, musical theater had a central intermediary role in the propagation of national identity throughout Europe. Patronizing national theater was a “patriotic obligation,” and therefore the cause of the institution became political and even a parliamentary issue in Hungary from the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century on. Identifying national affiliation was also a central question of Hungary in the nineteenth century, and the main goal became the creation of a cohesive national community based on ethnic self-realization and representation. In the case of countries which did not reach the status of independent national state, the virtual unity meant a cohesion of common language, culture, and shared history. This was the case with the nations of East-Central Europe.
The staging of musical theater performances and operas in the Hungarian language began to strengthen in the early nineteenth century in the Hungarian capital, Pest-Buda, following the traditions of the German-speaking and German-born musicians and actors operating in the region. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the capital possessed advanced experience regarding German-language theatrical productions. The Hungarian-language musical performances of the capital began to develop rapidly in the 1820s and 1830s. The Hungarian Theater of Pest was inaugurated in 1837, and from 1840 on it continued to operate with national support as the National Theater. The core musical repertoire was played there and spread throughout the country; it was identical with that of the German, Austrian, and Czech territories: in addition to mainly Austrian and German pieces, Italian, French and English works were represented. Following the common practice, initially translations and revisions were made, since only few original Hungarian pieces in the national language were available.
The interpretation of the Pesti Magyar Színház/Magyar Nemzeti Színház’s extant source material continues to present challenges to researchers. Besides the institutional histories written by theater historians, it is important to mention published sources and works about the operation of the musical department. Moreover, various catalogues (with a different degree of details) are also available, for instance the register of the pieces played at the Nemzeti Színház. For the time being, however, the most detailed picture of the repertoire still can be acquired from a digitized collection of approximately nine thousand playbills from the period between 1837 and 1867. On the basis of a new critical appraisal of this playbill material, the present study examines the program structure of the thirty years mentioned above, from the establishment of the institution to the coronation of Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth, focusing on the occasions and the repertoire of the festive performances that served as political representation.
Festive Performances in the Pesti Magyar Színház/Magyar Nemzeti Színház
Regarding the practice of the theater, music and spoken theater performances were held almost every day of the year. According to the newly appraised material, an observation of the additional inscriptions of the playbills seems to be an obvious criterion for defining the celebrations, since the repertoire was often the same for them. The theater’s management ordered the use of solemn decorative lighting and also mentioned it on the playbills regarding the festive occasions: “full solemn floodlight of the auditorium.”
In the case of the festive presentations, four main interdependent categories can be set up: (1) charity events, (2) guest performers, (3) performances in promotion of national culture, and (4) anniversaries as well as occasions of royal representation. For the charity performances, whose repertoire was mixed, the list of the supported institutions and individuals is extensive (e.g. orphanages, hospitals, etc.). A good example is the series of charity concerts organized on behalf of the Nemzeti Zenede (National Conservatory), which took place nine times in ten years. On the occasion of the first gala performance given for the benefit of the conservatory, Franz Liszt gave a concert on January 11, 1840. Every member of the Pest-budai Hangászegylet (Pest-Buda Society of Musicians) and also the staff of the theater participated for free that night. Regarding the names of the guest performers appearing on the stage of the National Theater, Franz Liszt was a recurring artist, but other virtuosos and musicians, such as Ole Bull (1839), Julius Egghard (1852), Julius Schulhoff (1852), Hans von Bülow (1853), and Anton Rubinstein (1858), also performed and gained overall success. These events, however, require further research.
Among the performances in promotion of national culture we can include the celebration of the anniversaries of the “national geniuses,” which were of great significance nationwide. Of outstanding importance was the commemoration of the death of Count István Széchenyi (1791–1860), who played a key role in the modernization of Hungary and also supported the cause of the National Theater, or the anniversaries of Ferenc Kazinczy (1759–1831) and Károly Kisfaludy. They were leading figures of the Hungarian language renewal, which was connected to the development of Hungarian theatricals.
Regarding the occasions of political representation, the almost one hundred performances ordered in honor of the members of the Habsburg family stand out even just due to their great number (see Table 1 and Appendix). The first major celebration organized in the theater for a member of the Habsburg family was the birthday of Archduke Joseph (1776–1847), Palatine of Hungary. It was due to him that the Pest Hungarian Theater was first illuminated with gas lamps on March 9, 1838. The festive lighting had since become an almost permanent accompaniment to the extraordinary events of the National Theater. At the performances given in honor of the Palatine, a wide range of the National Theater’s repertoire was played. The operas performed included Vincezo Bellini’s Norma and Beatrice di Tenda, Károly Thern’s Gizul, and Étienne Méhul’s Joseph. Ferenc Erkel’s music to a népszínmű (song-play) entitled Két pisztoly (Two pistols) was performed on two occasions in 1844 to celebrate Archduke Joseph’s anniversary and name day.
Table 1: Festive occasions in honor of the Habsburg family according to the playbills of the National Theater (1838–67)
 The performances given in honor of Ferdinand I (1793–1875) followed a similar practice. The operas performed included Bellini’s Norma, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and Weber’s Der Freischütz; in addition, Mendelssohn’s oratorio Paulus was heard. We can also find an original Hungarian piece: the premiere of Ede Szigligeti’s play Micbán családja (Micbán’s family) took place on the emperor’s name day. In honor of his wife, Maria Anna of Savoy (1803–84), Ferdinand Hérold’s Zampa was given, and on the name day of Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg (1797–1855), the third wife of Palatine Joseph, Eduard Schenk’s Belisar was on stage.
Archduke Albrecht (1817–95), who fulfilled the position of the palatine as governor-general from 1851 on, and his wife Hildegard (1825–64) were frequent visitors of the National Theater, preferring the opera performances. It is also worth mentioning the persistent polemics between German- and Hungarian-language press: even though there were overlaps between the German and the Hungarian theaters’ staff, insults regarding professionalism were commonplace from both sides. An article in the periodical Hölgyfutár serves as a picturesque example. Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor was a frequently played piece with a successful cast, with Kornélia Hollósy, Ferenc Stéger, and Giovanni Reina in the main roles. About a performance of the work on January 12, 1850, one can read a report from an anonymous visitor from abroad:
Lucia di Lammermoor had been given recently in the German theater and I left with discontent. Yesterday, the same [opera] was played in the Hungarian theater, and I stepped for the first time into this edifice of art thinking that if this beautiful musical drama was already weak in the German theater, then how it will be ruined by the Hungarians, who are only capable of fighting. Unfortunately, we foreigners have not been well informed so far about the state of Hungarian art. I should be a poet if I wanted to paint my pleasant surprise with sufficient colors; but as I am not, I only want to simply and briefly apologize for my bias in public, and at the same time I shall share my modest opinion about this performance. I heard Lucia from Malibran, and later from Persiani, who was only slightly inferior to Malibran; I boldly put Kornélia Hollósi next to Persiani, and I am not exaggerating when I say that, in the mad scene, I liked her song better. Steger will be a huge tenor, and even now he displayed a strength that amazed me; I heard the finale of Act One and the dying scene sung in a more touching manner only from Moriani, but Steger victoriously beat all the other Edgars—and I heard at least ten of them. Reina’s enormous voice will remain for a long time. The sextet at the end of the second act, the choirs in general, and the instrumental music were so precise, so satisfying that they filled me with admiration. I considered I owed this statement to give satisfaction for my one-sided distrust.
The orchestra led by Ferenc Erkel (1810–93) and the soloists had a great part in the success. The opera performances of the theater were highly successful, with a great frequency of full house productions which, according to scholars, exceeded those of the Pest German Theater both in quality and in quantity. It also has to be mentioned that opera performances caused less trouble regarding the problem of understanding the language. However, the archduke had an increasing influence on the institution, which he wanted to operate on the model of the Viennese court theaters. He was assisted in doing so by a Comité of Hungarian aristocrats, which took care of financial affairs. Particularly after 1849, the Habsburg family had a significant influence on the institution. It was probably due to this aspect that Franz Joseph I visited the Hungarian theater several times while he was in Hungary.
The Imperial Visits of Franz Joseph I
Franz Joseph I’s voyages in Hungary can be reconstructed in considerable detail. Historians have already examined the imperial voyages of 1852 and 1857 on the basis of archival sources and the press, but the documents have not yet been appraised in terms of musical representation and the exploration of the imperial voyages from the perspective of music history. Both court trips (Hofreisen) required a great amount of preparation. As the National Theater took an important part during the travels with regard to both the number and the significance of the events, the festive performances organized at this institution in honor of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth will be described further in the following.
The censored press reports depicted the events in the most brilliant colors, but the reality was far more subtle. In 1852, there was still a tense general feeling. Since after the defeat of the revolution in 1848/49 some of the extremely popular original Hungarian operas were banned, for instance Ferenc Erkel’s Bátori Mária and Hunyadi László, the management had to reckon with limited opportunities regarding the national operas. During the voyage of 1852, the organizers had to present the list of the works to be performed on the occasion of the Kaiserreise in 1852. This time Franz Joseph saw Franz Doppler’s Hungarian opera Ilka és a huszártoborzó (Ilka and the recruiting of the Hussars) on June 6, then, on July 12, by “full solemn floodlight of the auditorium,” he listened to György Császár’s opera A kunok (The Cumanians). In addition to the regular performances of the imperial anthem, that is, Gott erhalte, these two works dominated the repertoire of festive performances organized in honor of Franz Joseph.A kunok was performed during the celebration organized in honor of the emperor almost every year from 1851 on, to be precise, nine times in twenty years. Even after the marriage of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth in 1854, A kunok was performed after Gott erhalte. It is unknown whether the reason for this was the popularity of the opera (it was played more than a hundred times), its embeddedness in the tradition of Italian opera, or its emotional plot. The pseudo-historical opera has a national theme connected to the topic of court and politics in Hungary of the thirteenth century. As in Ferenc Erkel’s popular historical opera (also set in the thirteenth century), the banned Bánk bán, the protagonist is not the king. Erkel’s work, however, was quite problematic, since the assassination of the scheming Queen Gertrud is at the heart of the plot. A kunok has a less problematic libretto: the main thread can be interpreted on the surface as a complicated love story between two nations. Probably this could be one reason it was kept in the repertoire.
 We do not have any record of a high number of newly composed songs or works connected with these visits, but a few compositions exist. One of the leading figures of the Hungarian national opera, Ferenc Erkel, composed a choral work (perhaps with orchestra) entitled Ferenc József császárt üdvözlő Ének (Salutatory song for Franz Joseph) especially for the visit of 1852 on Johann Ludwig Deinhardstein’s German text. The premiere was on September 25, 1852, in the National Theater. The autograph of the salutatory song is lost and remained unpublished, but one can find articles about its premiere. The Pesti Napló provided a positive review with a detailed description of the scenery:
Last Saturday evening, prior to the opera Lucia di Lammermoor, in the fully and brightly illuminated National Theater, a greeting song was given by the entire theatrical establishment and the disciples of the musical conservatory staged in a superb tableau in honor of our gloriously reigning Emperor and King, His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, Francis Joseph I, providing an extraordinary and magnificent festive delight at the National Theater. … In the background, on a taller stand, a bust of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty was installed; on the platforms to its right and left, the representatives of all classes and groups of the Hungarian nation, lords, noblemen and noble ladies, citizens, peasants, artists, craftsmen, men, women, and children, all in national clothing according to the different regions of the country, surrounded the statue, paying their respects. In the front stood singers of both sexes, similarly dressed up in national clothing. From afar, the peal of bells and the salute of cannon-shots were heard; music was sounding and the national anthem (Hymnusz) was beginning. Its sublime idea had a truly inspirational effect on the enthusiastic audience, who loudly cried “Long live our Francis Joseph!” every time the opening line of the national anthem occurred. The author of the lofty anthem, conveying the nation’s piety, was honored by being called out.
The next Kaiserreise was in 1857, when Franz Joseph arrived with his wife Elisabeth and their children. It was the first time that all members of the royal family visited Hungary. The first two acts of Doppler’s Ilka és a huszártoborzó (Ilka and the recruiting of the Hussars), which occurred frequently on the theater’s program, were also seen by Empress Elisabeth during the 1857 Kaiserreise in the company of Archduke Albrecht and his wife Hildegard. The performance took place on May 12 to great success according to the press. The Habsburg family followed the piece, which was received by the audience both inside and outside the theater with an ovation, “with a lively interest and pleasure.” On the occasion of the 1857 visit, not only was the opera Ilka given at the National Theater but a new opera as well. The joint work of Ferenc Erkel, Franz Doppler (1821–83), and Karl Doppler (1825–1900), the homage opera entitled Erzsébet, was specifically commissioned and presented at the National Theater for the occasion of the imperial couple’s visit to Hungary.
The Viennese press reported for the first time about the new opera. On February 17, 1857, Blätter für Musik, Theater und Kunst wrote about the plans of the work commissioned by Count Gedeon Ráday (1841–83), with a plot devoted to the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary set in the thirteenth century. Following the article in Blätter für Musik, Theater und Kunst, the press in Pest-Buda continuously reported about the genesis of the opera, including news about the rehearsals, preparations, the cast, and the first performance. While staging the work, the theater had to meet strict requirements: the names of performers, the style of costumes, and even the dance choreography were predetermined. Count Móric Almásy (1808–81), a member of the already mentioned economic Comité of the National Theater, played an important role in the preparations. He was also responsible for handling the cost of fourteen thousand pengő forint for the refurbishment of the imperial box, which was also reported by the press. During the renovation in honor of the visit, new scenery painting and dressing rooms were set up and a separate entrance was made for the imperial box.
The premiere of Erzsébet thus took place under magnificent conditions on May 6, 1857. Confirming the former presumption, it was a private performance, or at least on that day the theater did not list any revenues, according to the cash registers. Three composers worked on the opera in three acts. Franz Doppler composed the overture and wrote the first act and the sword-dance of the third act; Ferenc Erkel composed the second act, the instrumentation of which partially originates from Franz Doppler; and Karl Doppler wrote the third act. After its premiere, the opera Erzsébet gained opposite reactions from the press. Its festivity was emphasized, and the second act written by Erkel and the singer of the title character Kornélia Hollósy were fully acknowledged, although the lack of musical unity was often criticized.
The Hungarian music publicist and composer Kornél Ábrányi (1822–1903) had a devastating opinion about the afterlife of this occasional work: “This opera did not leave any traces in the operatic literature of the century. It was of a purely occasional character. ... The audience welcomed it with the appropriate national piety. The ruling couple listened attentively to it and presented the composers with valuable souvenirs. … It was no equal to the Elisabeth album.” An examination of the playbill material, however, reveals that the opera Erzsébet did not bring such bad results after all. It is certain that Erzsébet was one of the most frequently performed pieces of the obligatory performances organized in honor of the royal couple. Until 1879, a total of sixteen performances took place, including two revivals: the first one in 1865, which was premiered on the eve of Franz Joseph’s birthday, and the 1879 version, first performed on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the imperial and royal couple’s marriage.
Figure 1: Playbill of the National Theater, August, 18, 1865, the Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Színháztörténeti Tár (National Széchényi Library, Theater History Collection), [without Fond number]
 Apart from the opera, another important work which was also mentioned by Ábrányi was born outside of the walls of the National Theater as the result of the visit. On May 6, 1857, the day of the premiere of Erzsébet, a delegation of Hungarian aristocrats in charge of fine arts went to the emperor for a private audience at 3 p.m. It was probably at that point that a piano album entitled Erzsébet-emlény (Elisabeth memories) was handed over to the ruling couple.
The album of 1857 was released under the auspices of the Rózsavölgyi Publishing House and probably followed the model of the Elisabeth-Fest-Album released by Haslinger to commemorate the imperial wedding in 1854. The aforementioned Kornél Ábrányi referred to it as “a precious relic” in his study A magyar zene a 19-ik században (Hungarian music in the nineteenth century). Ábrányi himself was a supporter and even an author of the piano album, which casts his negative assessment of the opera Erzsébet in a new light. Compared to the opera, he considered the impact of the piano album to be much more significant.
Table 2: Contents of the Elisabeth albums
Similarly to the Elisabeth-Fest-Album, which contained character pieces composed by eight piano virtuosos of the period (Alexander Dreyschock, Adolph von Henselt, Wilhelm Kuhe, Theodor Kullak, Franz Liszt, Julius Schulhoff, Charles Voss, and Rudolf Willmers), the authors of the Erzsébet-emlény included acknowledged figures of contemporary Hungarian musical life. The composers sought to emphasize the Hungarian characteristics in their work (or rather characteristics that were perceived as such) and tried to combine them with more universal and sometimes virtuoso musical idioms. The character pieces of the album highlight their Hungarian connection already in their titles: examples include Magyarország határánál (At the border of Hungary) by Ábrányi, Pusztai élet (Life of the Puszta) by Michael Brand (later Mihály Mosonyi), or Honi üdvözlet (Greetings from Hungary) by Imre Székely, who gained success as a piano virtuoso throughout Europe.
An important aspect in the reception of both the opera and the piano album is the fact that the figure of Empress Elisabeth was identified in the nineteenth century with St. Elizabeth of Hungary. According to the reports of the Budapesti Hirlap, the official Hungarian newspaper of the visit, the Kaiserreise of 1857 not only gave new impetus to the cult of St. Elisabeth in musical life but inspired a number of novels and picture albums dealing with the life of the saint. Ábrányi’s recollections also allude to this aspect by comparing two works of Franz Liszt. During the 1867 Hungarian coronation ceremonies, he reported that Liszt wrote his Ungarische Krönungsmesse (Hungarian Coronation Mass) in honor of Franz Joseph. On the other hand, he referred to the oratorio Die Legende von der heiligen Elisabeth, presented in Vigadó (Redout) in 1865, as the twin composition of the Mass, but from a psychological point of view it was expressly performed in honor of the empress and queen Elisabeth. If we were to question Ábrányi’s words, we have a list of obituaries that appeared at the death of Elisabeth: the victim of the 1898 murderous attempt was compared not only to St. Elizabeth of Hungary but also to the Virgin Mary.
What we mourn in this holy woman is not only the martyr, not just the empress, not just a worthy partner of a wise king. As if the mother of each and every one of us had been murdered; as if the cold iron that was in her heart would penetrate the heart of the nation and with her precious blood was the blood spilled from the life of the Hungarians. In the first hours of horror we get silent to our heart: our patron, our sacred Erzsébet of Hungary, has died.
In his study on the Hungarian cult of Elisabeth, András Gerő states that “from the middle of the 1860s Elisabeth gradually took over the politically missing psychological role that became vacant following Archduke Joseph’s death.” Thus, while Franz Joseph stood for the unity of the empire, Elisabeth—similarly to Archduke Joseph—symbolized the common future full of hope. An examination of the repertoire strategies in the sources of the Pesti Magyar Színház/Magyar Nemzeti Színház evokes a picture of music as a means of national representation and as a symbol of cohesion. The opera Erzsébet, however, did not have an unequivocal effect on Hungarian musical life, nor did the Erzsébet-album. According to the latest press research, no mention of the album has yet been found in the press of the period under study. The two pieces were important rather in their function of creating a Hungarian contribution to music through the figure of Empress Elisabeth.
The festivities and the repertoire organized at the theater in honor of the Habsburg family can be interpreted in several ways. As an adequate response to the imperial motto of Franz Joseph (Viribus unitis), symbolic elements of Hungarian national culture were chosen to celebrate the royals as being part of the Habsburg Empire. However, a significant part of the Hungarian-language historical literature clearly draws a negative image of the 1850s, which directly followed the Revolution of 1848–49. Both reflections from the 1850s and the studies analyzing the period refer to it as the period of oppression, thus strengthening the sense of centuries-old neglect. The monograph of Bálint Varga confirms this view: in the decades in which the independence of Hungary was under threat, the self-image of the Hungarians as a “monumental nation” was severely damaged, thus reinforcing the re-enactment of the opposition between Hungarians and “the others,” a contradiction which was a consequence of the process of national movements.
The concept of Kulturnation also strongly defined the image the Hungarians of the mid-nineteenth century had of themselves, which also had a significant impact on the repertoire performed on festive occasions. Although the successful Hungarian-language musical theater repertoire was not broad, it was able to inspire the desire to create national works later on. The linguistic and cultural set of tools was expanded and conferred a national character under the influence of Herder; a framework of cultural institutions was established, thus strengthening the national culture. Catching up, achieving acceptance, and advocating the nation’s own interests were the goals in an era when the aspirations for independence could not be achieved politically. The same goals, however, could be achieved on a different level: by re-enactment through a culture of a reconstructed image of the glorious past, by the sacralization of the canonized heroes. Thus, the desire to expand the Hungarian national culture internationally is also manifested through the repertoire of the Pest National Theater’s festive occasions.
The following table shows the works performed on festive occasions in honor of the Habsburg-family in the National Theater, based on the playbills of the institution.
Table 3: Performances in honor of the Habsburg-family in the National Theater; to display the entire table, click on the images above or follow this link.
- New results arose in a common research project led by Katalin Kim called “The Network of the Musical Theatre Companies in the Multilingual East-Central Europe” with the Visegrad Grants 2017–2018. See more on the website of the project; Jana Laslavíková, “Im Brennpunkt: Das Städtische Theater in Pressburg 1886–1920,” in Musiktheater in Raum und Zeit: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Theaterpraxis in Mitteleuropa im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Vladimír Zvara (Bratislava: Asociácia Corpus vspolupráci s NM CODE, 2015), 59–87; Jana Laslavíková, “Between province and metropolis: The opera repertoire of the Pressburger Stadttheater in the late nineteenth century,” Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 58, no. 3–4 (2017), 363–77; Jiří Kopecký and Lenka Křupková, Provincial Theater and Its Opera: German Opera Scene in Olomouc, 1770–1920 (Olomouc: Palacký University, 2015); Tatjana Markovic, “Ottoman Legacy and Oriental Self in Serbian Opera,” Studia Musicologica 57, no. 1–2 (2016): 391–402; Péter Bozó, “Theatrical Landscape: Intersections between the Reception of Wagner and Offenbach in Nineteenth-Century Budapest,” Studia Musicologica 58, no. 3–4 (2017): 329–39; Katalin Kim, ed., Ferenc Erkel Operas (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2002–); and Pál Horváth, “Énekesjátéktól a magyar operáig. A Béla futása előadásai, forrásai és változatai,” Magyar Zene 57, no. 1 (2019), 14–30, see footnote 12 for details. ↑
- Miklós Bényei (ed.), Reformkori országgyűlések színházi vitái: 1825–1848 [Debates about the theater in Parliament during the Hungarian Reform Era: 1825–1848] (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1985), 331. ↑
- Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 2006); István Diószegi, Üllő és kalapács. Nemzetiségi politika Európában a XIX. században [Anvil and hammer: Nationality policy in Europe in the nineteenth century] (Budapest: Magyarságkutató Intézet, 1991), 5. ↑
- See also the concept of Ernest Gellner, who states that nationalism is a political principle. Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983). Eric Hobsbawm disputes Gellner’s view in his book Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). ↑
- Diószegi, Üllő és kalapács, 5. ↑
- Tibor Tallián, “National Theatre – National Opera,” in Music in Hungary: An Illustrated History, ed. János Kárpáti, trans. Bernard Adams (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2011), 140–41. ↑
- Ibid., 140. ↑
- Besides the collection of the Hungarian Theater Museum and Institute, the National Széchényi Library has significant groups of sources. For the latest, see Antal Németh, “A Nemzeti Színház iratainak sorsa” [The status of the documents of the National Theater], in Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve 1965/66 (Budapest: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, 1967), 247–55. ↑
- For example, Lajos Pál Bíró, A Nemzeti Színház Története 1837–1841 [History of the National Theater 1837–1841] (Budapest: Pfeifer Ferdinánd, 1931); Ferenc Kerényi, A Nemzeti Színház [The National Theater] (Budapest: Corvina, 1987); Ferenc Kerényi, ed., A Nemzeti Színház 150 éve [150 years of the National Theater] (Budapest: Gondolat, 1987); Jolán Pukánszkyné Kádár, A Nemzeti Színház százéves története [A hundred years of the National Theater], 2 vols. (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1938–40). ↑
- Ferenc Kerényi, ed., 77 ismeretlen dokumentum a régi Nemzeti Színházból: 1838–1885 [77 unknown documents about the old National Theatre: 1838–1885] (Budapest: Múzsák, 1989). ↑
- See, e.g., the selected publications of Tibor Tallián, “Átváltozások, avagy a Nemzeti Színház operai kottatárának néhány tanulsága” [Transformations, or some lessons from the National Theater’s score collection on opera], in Zenetudományi Dolgozatok 1999 (Budapest: MTA Zenetudományi Intézete, 1999), 281–86; Tibor Tallián, “Opernorchester in Ungarn im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert,” in The Opera Orchestra in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe, vol. 1: The Orchestra in Society, ed. Niels Martin Jensen and Franco Piperno (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008), 151–216; and Tibor Tallián, Schodel Rozália és a hivatásos magyar operajátszás kezdetei [Rozália Schodel and the beginnings of the professional Hungarian opera playing] (Budapest: Balassi, 2015). The other important task was to start the critical editions of Ferenc Erkel’s works, in which the volumes of Bátori Mária, Hunyadi László and Bánk bán are published: Ferenc Erkel Operas Critical Edition, issued by the MTA BTK Zenetudományi Intézet [HAS RCH Institute for Musicology] and the Országos Széchényi Könyvtár [Széchényi National Library], vol. 1/1–2: Bátori Mária: Opera in Two Acts, ed. Katalin Kim and Miklós Dolinszky (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2002); vol. 2/1–3: Hunyadi László: Opera in Four Acts, ed. Katalin Kim (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2006); vol. 3/1–3: Bánk bán: Opera in Three Acts, ed. Miklós Dolinszky (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2006). ↑
- See the typewritten catalog of Algernon László Hajdu, A Nemzeti Színház műsorlexikona [Program lexicon of the National Theater], 5 vols. (Budapest: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, 1944). Another catalogue needs to be mentioned: Piroska Berlász, ed., Iratok a Nemzeti Színház történetéhez: Pukánszkyné Kádár Jolán kiadatlan levéltári gyűjtésének fondjegyzéke [Documents for the history of the National Theater: The unpublished register of the archive collection of Jolán Pukánszkyné Kádár] (Budapest: National Széchényi Library, 1988). ↑
- The editing of the digitized playbills still continues at the MTA Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont Zenetudományi Intézet Magyar Zenetörténeti Osztály [Department for Hungarian Music History of HAS Research Centre for the Humanities Institute for Musicology]. As a result of this research, a database will be available in Hungarian language on the official website of the institution. ↑
- The National Theater and its repertoire also reflect on national, sacral, and other cultural events. At the end of February, the theater hosted carnival balls. At Easter and Pentecost, the National Theater was closed. The procedure was similar on August 20, the day of the Hungarian state foundation. If there was a performance, then it was only for a charity purpose. At Christmas, December 22–25, the theater was also closed. On the previous days there were also charity performances because of Advent. ↑
- On the establishment of the institution, see: Lujza Tari and Márta Sz. Farkas, eds., A Nemzeti Zenede [The National Conservatory] (Budapest: Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Egyetem Budapesti Tanárképző Intézete, 2005). ↑
- May 31, 1842; November 28, 1850; March 25, 1851; August 15, 1851; December 19, 1851; April 2, 1852; May 6, 1852; May 30, 1852. In 1852, the professors of the Zenede gave a choir concert inspired by a sudden idea on the occasion of the Kaiserreise, in honor of Franz Joseph. From that moment on, the conservatory had a good relationship with the emperor according to the protocols of the institution: Franz Joseph provided the National Conservatory the volumes of the Beethoven critical edition being published at the time through his representatives. See Mónika Iványi-Papp, “A Nemzeti Zenede élete a Pest-budai Hangászegyesületi Énekiskola választmányi ülései alapján (1844–1867)” [The life of the National Conservatory based on the council meetings of the Pest-Buda Music Society’s Singer School (1844–1867)], in Tari and Sz. Farkas, A Nemzeti Zenede, 105–46. ↑
- See the headline of the playbill from January 11, 1840: “A’ nézőhely teljes ünnepélyes kivilágitásával. | LISZT F. úr | müvész hazánk’ fijának | Nagy hangversenye, két osztályban; | Egy Pesten felállitandó nemzeti CONSERVATORIUM penzalapja’ megkezdésére” [With the full solemn floodlight of the auditorium | Mr. F. Liszt | Hungarian-born artist’s | great concert in two parts; | for a National Conservatory Board to be established in Pest.] ↑
- The concert program was the following: Part 1: Wolfgang Amadé Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, Overture (Pestbuda Society of Musicians, Orchestra of the National Theater); a song by Louis Spohr (Mrs. Gyöngyösi), a Duet from Daniel-François-Esprit Auber’s La muette de Portici (Mr. Szmolka, Mr. Reder, members of Pestbuda Society of Musicians), Ludwig van Beethoven: Choral Fantasy op. 80 (Franz Liszt, Pestbuda Society of Musicians, musicians from the National Theater). Part 2: Carl Maria von Weber: Oberon, Overture, Gaetano Donizetti: Marino Faliero, Duet (Mr. Augusz, Mr. Eckstein, amateurs), L. v. Beethoven: Symphony no. 7 (on the playbill: “Andante, Beethoven’ a dur Symphoniájából” [Andante, from Beethoven’s A-major Symphony]. Probably the Allegretto movement was played), C. M. v. Weber: Konzertstück op. 79 (Franz Liszt), excerpts from Joseph Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten (Pestbuda Society of Musicians, members of the Choir of the National Theater). ↑
- About the role of the cult of commemorations, see: Jan Assmann, Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), esp. 56–60. About cultural memory and nation building, see Anderson, Imagined Communities, esp. 19–24 and 37–46. ↑
- Before the establishment of the institution, Count Széchenyi wrote a pamphlet supporting the case of the National Theater. István Széchenyi, Magyar Játékszínrül [About the Hungarian theatrical scene] (1832, repr., Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1976). ↑
- See József Szinnyei, Magyar írók élete és munkái [Life and works of Hungarian writers], vol. 7 (Budapest: Hornyánszky Viktor Könyvkiadóhivatala, 1900), 1261–76. ↑
- Károly Kisfaludy (1788–1830) was a poet, playwright, and painter. He was the leading figure of the literary life in the Hungarian reform era. His plays were regularly played on the stage of the National Theater, and he was celebrated in the institution almost every year from 1844 on. See Szinnyei, Magyar írók élete és munkái, vol.6 (Budapest: Hornyánszky Viktor Könyvkiadóhivatala, 1900), 400–16. ↑
- Besides the celebrations of the National Theater, there are also examples before its establishment of the members of the Habsburg family being celebrated. In 1800, Palatine Joseph and his first wife, Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia (1783–1801), visited Hungary. Alexandra Pavlovna organized a concert for her husband on the occasion of his birthday, where Joseph Haydn himself conducted his oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation). In honor of the Palatine, Beethoven visited Buda for the first and last time and gave a concert in the Court Theater of Buda. Ede Sebestyén, “József nádor és Pavlovna Alexandra bevonulása és ünneplése Pest-Budán 1800-ban. Haydn és Beethoven hangversenye Budán” [The arrival and celebration of Palatine Joseph and Alexandra Pavlovna in Pest-Buda in 1800. The concerts of Haydn and Beethoven in Buda], in Tanulmányok Budapest múltjából 7 (1939): 142–61. ↑
- See Appendix. ↑
- Károly Thern (1817–86) was a Hungarian composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist of Austrian origin. He moved to Pest in 1836, and the following year he attracted the attention of Hungarian literary society with incidental music to, e.g., József Gaál’s Peleskei nótárius ([The notary of Peleske], 1838). He was made assistant conductor of the National Theater in 1841, and in this capacity wrote the operas Gizul (1841), Tihany ostroma ([The siege of Tihany,] 1845) and A képzelt beteg ([The imaginary invalid,] after Molière, 1855). In 1864 he moved to Leipzig. He returned to Pest in 1868 as the conductor of the Pesti Zenekedvelők Egylete [Pest Music Lovers’ Orchestra], the Concordia Dalárda and Aurora Dalárda; little is known regarding the former choirs. After his retirement, he spent his last years in Vienna. See Mária Eckhardt, “Károly Thern,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 25, ed. Stanley Sadie, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 2001), 387. ↑
- The popularity of the nineteenth-century genre népszínmű had begun with the premiere of Ede Szigligeti’s Szökött katona [The escaped soldier] on November 25, 1843, in the Nemzeti Színház. With this fundamentally facile genre, the director Ede Bartay had a serious intention: to “improve” the taste of the commoners. The Grove Music Online’s short article relates the népszínmű (song-play) to the ballad opera. However, as Katalin Kim ascertains, this can be misleading. The Singspiel and the Viennese folk play, as well as the French melodrama and vaudeville, also have to be mentioned as sources of inspiration for the genre. See s. n., “Népszínmű,” in Grove Music Online, ed. Deane Root, accessed September 24, 2019; Katalin Szacsvai Kim, “Az Erkel-műhely: Közös munka Erkel Ferenc színpadi műveiben (1840–1857)” [Erkel workshop: Collaboration in the stage plays of Ferenc Erkel (1840–1857)] (PhD diss., Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, 2012), 89–96. ↑
- Of the népszínműs with Ferenc Erkel’s music, Két pisztoly (Two pistols) was the most successful play, with more than 90 performances in the Magyar Nemzeti Színház following its premiere in the nineteenth century. The music of the piece, however, is not fully composed by Erkel. See Katalin Szacsvai Kim, “Az Erkel-műhely”, 89–140. ↑
- This table does not count two occasions when the theater was closed. See Appendix. ↑
- Ede Szigligeti (1814–78) was a Hungarian actor, director, playwright, and theater director. He was a member of the National Theater since its opening in 1837. The four decades he spent there had a significant effect on the institution. Szigligeti also played an important role regarding the program strategy of the National Theater, since he also worked there as a secretary. Moreover, he wrote more than a hundred plays and was a main figure of the genre népszínmű (song-play). Jenő Erődi, “Szigligeti Ede,” in Magyar Színművészeti Lexikon [Hungarian dictionary of theater art], vol. 4, ed. Aladár Schöpflin (Budapest: Országos Színészegyesület és Nyugdíjintézet, 1931), 243–48. ↑
- However, further press research on which performances exactly they were present at is required. Since the audience was largely attracted by opera performances of the theater anyway, one can suppose that the archduke and Princess Hildegard also preferred the latter. For more, see Wolfgang Binal, Deutschsprachiges Theater in Budapest (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1972); and Edit Mályuszné Császár, “A rendi nemzeti színháztól a polgári nemzet színháza felé (1849–1873)” [From the National Theater of the estates to the National Theater of the bourgeoisie (1849–1873)], in Kerényi, A Nemzeti Színház 150 éve, 37–40. ↑
- There are several references to the debates regarding the preferences of German vs. Hungarian theater and/or music in the period’s press, but deeper research is needed. About the two institutions’ orchestras and the migration of its members, see Tallián, “Opernorchester in Ungarn,” 151–216. About the German theater, see Binal, Deutschsprachiges Theater; Hedvig Belitska-Scholz and Olga Somorjai, Deutsches Theater in Pest und Ofen 1770–1850, 2 vols. (Budapest: Argumentum, 1995); and Jolán Pukánszkyné Kádár, A pesti és budai német színészet története 1812–1847 [The History of German theatricals in Pest and Buda 1812–1847] (Budapest: Budavári Tudományos Társaság, 1923). ↑
- “E napokban ‘Lammermoori Lucia’ adaték a német színházban, s én elégületlenül távozám. Tegnap a magyar színházban ugyanazt adák, s én—először léptem azon műcsarnokba, gondolván, ha már a németben is gyönge volt e gyönyörű daljáték, hát ugyan mikép fogják azt semmivé tenni a magyarok, kik csak verekedni tudnak. Bocsánat, mi külföldiek nem legjobban voltunk eddig értesítve a magyar művészet állása felöl. Költőnek kellene lennem, ha kellemes meglepetésemet kellő színekkel akarnám fösteni; de az nem levén, csak egyszerűen és röviden akarok bocsánatot kérni elfogultságomért nyilvánosan, és elmondom egyszersmind szerény véleményemet ezen előadásról. Én Luciát hallottam Malibrantól, s hallottam utóbb Persianitól, ki csak kevéssel állott Malibran alatt; Hollósi Kornéliát bátran Persiani mellé teszem, sőt nem vagyok túlzó, ha mondom, hogy az őrültségi jelenetben nekem az ő éneke jobban tetszett. Stéger hatalmas tenorista lesz, sőt már most is olly erőt fejte ki, melly bámulatra ragadott; az első felvonási finálét és a haldoklási jelenetet csak Morianitól hallám meghatóbban énekeltetni, de a többi Edgárokat—pedig hallottam legalább tizet—mind diadalmasan legyőzé Stéger. Reina roppant hangja még sok simításra képes. A hatos dal a második felvonás végén, a karok általában, a zene olly pontosak, olly kielégítők valának, hogy engem csodálkozásra ragadtak. Ezen nyilatkozattal tartozni véltem elégtételül egyoldalú balitéletemért.” Hölgyfutár, no. 11 (January 14, 1850): 48. ↑
- See Mályuszné Császár, A rendi nemzeti színháztól, 37–40. The claim that Hungarian theater productions exceeded those of the German theater was a commonplace in Hungarian literature, however, needs further research. About the relations between the two institutions in light of recent research, see Tallián, “Opernorchester in Ungarn,” 151–216. ↑
- See Mályuszné Császár, ibid.; Ferenc Kerényi, ed., Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873 [Hungarian theater history, 1790–1873] (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990), 373–75. ↑
- See, e.g., Petra Promintzer, “Die Reisen Kaiser Franz Josephs (1848–1867)” (PhD diss., University of Vienna, 1967); Orsolya Manhercz, “Az 1857-es császári utazás sajtója” [The press of the emperor’s visit in 1857], in Fejezetek a tegnap világából: Tanulmányok a 19–20. század történelméből [Chapters from yesterday’s world: Studies on the history of the nineteenth and twentieth century], ed. Jenő Gergely (Budapest: ELTE, 2009), 56–75; and Orsolya Manhercz, “Ferenc József 1857-es magyarországi utazása a Times hasábjain” [The Hungarian journey of Franz Joseph in 1857 according to the columns of the Times], Magyar Könyvszemle 125, no. 1 (2009): 47–65. ↑
- For other examples of the visits or the representation of Franz Joseph, see Filip Šimetin Šegvić, “Zagreb/Agram als zeremonieller Raum 1895: Kaiser Franz Joseph und dynastische Repräsentation,” in Die Repräsentation der Habsburg-Lothringischen Dynastie in Musik, visuellen Medien und Architektur / Representing the Habsburg-Lorraine Dynasty in Music, Visual Media and Architecture 1618–1918, ed. Werner Telesko (Vienna: Böhlau, 2017), 367–89. ↑
- Orsolya Manhercz, “Magas rangú hivatalos utazások Magyarországon a Bach-korszakban: Ferenc József magyarországi látogatásai 1849 és 1859 között” [High-ranking official journeys in Hungary in the Bach era: The visits of Franz Joseph between 1849 and 1859] (PhD diss., Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Humanities, 2012), 18, 20, 170. ↑
- About the effect of 1848/49 on the musical life of Europe, see Barbara Boisits, ed., Musik und Revolution: Die Produktion von Identität und Raum durch Musik in Zentraleuropa 1848/49 (Vienna: Hollitzer, 2013). ↑
- From January 14, 1850, on, the register of the pieces to be performed had to be presented to the military police office according to the 481st eparchy decree. See Kerényi, Magyar Színháztörténet, 373. ↑
- See Manhercz, “Ferenc József 1857-es magyarországi utazása,” 80. ↑
- Franz Doppler (1821–83) was a flautist, composer, and conductor born in Lemberg/Lviv/Lwów. With his brother Karl Doppler, he settled in Pest, where he was first flautist in the Pesti Városi Színház/Deutsche Theater in Pest/German Town Theatre from 1838 on and in the Hungarian National Theater from 1841 on. He moved to Vienna in 1858, where he worked for the Hofoper (Court Opera House) as first flautist and assistant (later chief) conductor of the ballet. From 1865 on he taught the flute at the Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. He was a skillful orchestrator, and his transcriptions of some of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies became well known. See Zoltán Gárdonyi, “Franz Doppler,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 7, ed. Stanley Sadie, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 2001), 502–3. ↑
- Kaiser (hung. Császár) György (1813–50) is remembered for two of his operas, A kunok ([The Cumanians], 1848) and Morsinai Erzsébet ([Elisabeth of Morsina], 1850). See s. n., “Császár, György,” in Grove Music Online, ed. Deane Root, accessed September 24, 2019. According to the theater almanacs between 1837 and 1844, he was the concertmaster of the orchestra of the National Theater, taking part in the parodies and comedies. From 1838 on he also played violin in the orchestra. From 1844 on he held the title of conductor. From 1848 on he was referred to as György Császár. ↑
- See Ildikó Nagy, “Himnusz, Szózat kontra Gotterhalte. Birodalmi és nemzeti szimbólumok az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia Magyarországán” [Hymn, Szózat versus Gotterhalte: Symbols of the empire and nation in Austria-Hungary’s Hungary], Aetas 32, no. 4 (2017): 21–62. ↑
- See Appendix. ↑
- There is extensive Hungarian literature about Erkel’s opera; see, e. g., Miklós Dolinszky: “Bánk bán,” in “Szikrát dobott a nemzet szívébe”: Erkel Ferenc három operája. Bátori Mária, Hunyadi László, Bánk Bán. Szövegkönyvek, tanulmányok, ed. Ágnes Gupcsó (Budapest: MTA Zenetudományi Intézet–Rózsavölgyi, 2011), 297–400; and see the critical edition in Ferenc Erkel Operas: Bánk bán; Opera in Three Acts, ed. Miklós Dolinszky (Budapest: Rózsavölgyi, 2006). ↑
- The original poem is unknown; we only know the composition’s Hungarian title. Dezső Legánÿ, Erkel Ferenc művei és korabeli történetük [The works of Ferenc Erkel and their history] (Budapest: Zeneműkiadó, 1975), 62. ↑
- “A múlt szombati estve rendkívüli, magasztos ünnepi élvet nyújtott a nemzeti színházban ‘Lammermoori Lucia’ czimű operát megelőzőleg, a színháznak teljes, fényes kivilágítása mellett, egy nagyszerűig rendezett tableauban, a nemzeti színház öszszes személyzete és a hangászegyleti zenede növendékei által Ő cs. k. Ap. Felsége, első Ferencz Józsefet, dicsőségesen uralkodó császárunkat és királyunkat üdvözlő ének adatott elő. … Háttérben egy magasabb állványon, (3 cs. kir. Ap. Flgének mellszobra volt felállítva; jobbra és balra mellette emelvényeken a magyar nép minden osztályai- s rétegeinek képviselői, főurak, nemesek, nemes hölgyek, polgárok, parasztok, művészek, mesteremberek, férfiak, nők, gyermekek, mind nemzeti öltözetben az ország különböző tájai szerint, a szobor előtt s körül hódolólag csoportosulva. Elől álltak, hasonlóképen nemzeti öltözetben, az énekesek és énekesnők. Távolról harangzúgás, üdvözlet ágyúlövésekkel, megzendül a zene s kezdődik a hymnus, melynek magasztos eszméje valóságos ihlető hatást gyakorolt az elragadtatott közönségre, mely harsogó Éljen ! kiáltással vágott bele, valahányszor a hymnusban az első megnyitó sor: Éljen soká Ferencz Józsefünk ! előfordult. A nemzeti kegyeletet tolmácsló magasztos hymnus szerzője kihívással tiszteltetett meg.” Pesti Napló, no. 766 (September 28, 1852): . ↑
- About the visit, see Lili Békéssy, “Az 1857-es magyarországi császárjárás zenei reprezentációja” [The musical representation of Franz Joseph’s Hungarian visit in 1857], in Zenetudományi dolgozatok 2017–2018, Tallián Tibor tiszteletére [Studies in musicology 2017–2018, in honor of Tibor Tallián], ed. Katalin Kim (Budapest: MTA BTK Zenetudományi Intézet, 2019), 199–230. ↑
- Délibáb, no. 20 (May 17, 1857): 249; Budapesti Hírlap, no. 109 (May 13, 1857): ; Magyar Néplap, no. 39 (May 16, 1857): 312. ↑
- “Als Festoper zur Zeit der Anwesenheit des allerhöchsten Kaiserpaares, componirt Capellmeister Erkel und Franz Doppler im Verein eine neue ungarische Nationalper [sic!]. Das Libretto ist der ungarischen Geschichte entnommen, und spielt am Hofe der berühmten Königin Elisabeth, daher auch der Titel ‘Erzsébet’ (Elisabeth) sein wird; wozu unsere beiden tüchtigen Compositeure nicht länger als circa 6 Wochen zur Vollendung Zeit haben, da die Oper im Mai gegeben werden muß. Diese gewiß sehr sinnige Idee rührt von dem Intendanten Herrn Grafen Ráday her.” Blätter für Musik, Theater und Kunst, no. 14 (February 17, 1857): 55, accessed November 9, 2019. ↑
- Hölgyfutár, no. 52 (March 5, 1857): 221; Budapesti Hírlap, no. 54 (March 7, 1857): ; Nővilág, no. 10 (March 15, 1857): 159; Hölgyfutár, no. 77 (April 4, 1857): 341; Hölgyfutár, no. 84 (April 15, 1857): 376; Budapesti Hírlap, no. 93 (April 24, 1857): ; Nővilág, no. 17 (May 3, 1857): 271; Politikai Ujdonságok, no. 17 (April 29, 1857): 157. ↑
- Nővilág, no. 14 (April 12, 1857): 222. ↑
- Music Collection of the National Széchényi Library, Analekta 395: A nemzeti szinház igazgatóságának napló jegyző könyve  [Protocol of the Directorate of the National Theater], fol. 10v.: §83 (April 24); fol. 11r.: §88 (May 4); fol. 11v.: §93 (May 16). ↑
- Szacsvai Kim, “Az Erkel-műhely,” 155. ↑
- Theater History Collection of National Széchényi Library, Nemzeti Színház, 571. Financial diary for season 1857/58. ↑
- Szacsvai Kim, “Az Erkel-műhely,” 145–250. ↑
- Délibáb, no. 21 (May 24, 1857): 260: “The most interesting part in this opera is what is the result of Erkel’s inspiration and in which most emotions and most national character are expressed. Even today, this part has given us the majority of pleasure, but we are not only willing to own the intrinsic value of the work, but that it is so much emphasized by Hollósy L.’s beautiful voice.” [“E dalműben kétségkivül legérdekesebb rész az, mely Erkel ihlettségének szüleménye, s melyben legtöbb érzelem s legtöbb nemzeties jellem van kifejezve. Ma is e rész adott legtöbb élvet, mit azonban nemcsak a szerzemény belső jelességének vagyunk hajlandók tulajdonitani, hanem annak, hogy azt Hollósy L-né gyönyörü hangja annyira kiemeli.”] ↑
- Délibáb, no. 20 (May 17, 1857): 247: “It lacks consistency, which cannot be forgotten by the successful composition of each part.” [“Hiányzik benne az összhangzás, mit az egyes részek sikerült compositiója sem bir feledtetni.”] ↑
- “Ez opera azomban maradandó nyomokat nem hagyott hátra a század operairodalmában. Tisztán alkalmi jelleggel birt. … A közönség megillető nemzeti pietással fogadta. Az uralkodó pár végig hallgatta figyelmesen s szerzőket értékes emléktárgyakkal tüntette ki. … Erzsébet álbummal nem volt képes versenyezni …” Kornél Ábrányi, A magyar zene a 19-ik században (Budapest: Pannonia Nyomda, 1900), 250–51. ↑
- Délibáb, no. 19 (May 10, 1857): 234–235. ↑
- Music Collection of the National Széchényi Library, Mus pr 13560. ↑
- Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung, SA.87.D.45, accessed May 10, 2017. ↑
- Ábrányi, Magyar zene, 242. ↑
- Ferenc Bónis, Mihály Mosonyi, Hungarian Composers 10 (Budapest: Mágus, 2002). ↑
- János Kéry, “Székely Imre (1823–1887) életrajza, magyar ábrándjai és műveinek jegyzéke” [Imre Székely’s biography, his Hungarian fantasies, and list of works] (PhD diss., Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, 2015). ↑
- See Alice Freideld, “Empress Elisabeth as Hungarian Queen: The Uses of Celebrity Monarchism,” in The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy, ed. Laurence Cole and Daniel L. Unowsky (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007), 138–46; Eszter Virág Vér, “Erzsébet királyné magyarországi kultusza 1914-ig: emlékezethelyei tükrében” [The Hungarian cult of Queen Elisabeth until 1914 (in the light of her memorial sites)] (PhD diss., Eötvös Lóránd University, 2014). ↑
- Budapesti Hirlap, no. 243 (October 24, 1857). ↑
- Kornél Ábrányi, “Egy inditvány. (A pestbudai zenedének ajánlva)” [A proposal: (Dedicated to the Conservatory of Pest-Buda)], Zenészeti Lapok 7, no. 33 (May 19, 1867): 513–14. ↑
- [“Akit mi ebben a szent asszonyban siratunk nem csak a vértanu, nemcsak a fejedelemnő, nemcsak egy bölcs király méltó élettársa. Mintha külön-külön mindegyikünknek az édesanyját gyilkolták volna meg; mintha a hideg vas, mely szivét érte, a nemzet szivét is átjárná s az ő drága vérével a magyarság életeréből patakzott a vér. A rémület első óráiban némán kapunk a szivünkhöz: meghalt a mi patronánk, a mi magyarországi szent Erzsébetünk.”] Magyar Hirlap, September 11, 1898, 3–4. For the parallel with Virgin Mary, see the article of Kálmán Mikszáth, “A királyné meghalt” [The queen is dead], Országos Hirlap, September 11, 1898, 1. For the sacred symbols connected to the Habsburg Dynasty, see Daniel Unowsky, “Reasserting Empire: Habsburg Imperial Celebrations After the Revolutions of 1848–49,” in Staging the Past: The Politics of Commemoration in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present, ed. Maria Bucur and Nancy M. Wingfield (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2001), 13–45. ↑
- András Gerő, “Egy magyar kultusz: Erzsébet királyné” [A Hungarian cult: Queen Elisabeth], in Magyar polgárosodás [Hungarian embourgeoisement] (Budapest: Atlantisz, 1993), 402. ↑
- Daniel Unowsky, The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism: Imperial Celebrations in Habsburg Austria, 1848–1916 (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2005), 2. ↑
- Bálint Varga, The Monumental Nation: Magyar Nationalism and Symbolic Politics in Fin-de-siècle Hungary (New York: Berghahn Books, 2016), 1–42. ↑
- Johannes Feichtinger and Gary B. Cohen, eds., Understanding Multiculturalism: The Habsburg Central European Experience (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 1–14. ↑
- Pieter M. Judson and Marsha L. Rozenblit, eds., Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), 1–18. ↑
- Anderson, Imagined Communities (1991), 1–48; Jan Assmann, “Communicative and Cultural Memory,” in Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook, ed. Astrid Erll and Ansgar Nünnig (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2008), 109–118; Tatjana Marković, “Re/Constructing collective memory musically,” Mousikos Logos 1 (January 2014). ↑
- This table is based on the data of the newly processed playbill material. It was a preliminary research in the framework of the project “Ferenc Erkel and His Workshop,” Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont Zenetudományi Intézet [Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Musicology], Budapest, 2014–2019, supported by Országos Tudományos Kutatási Alapprogramok [Hungarian Scientific Research Fund] K 112 504. This table will be a part of the project’s online “Database of the Hungarian National Theatre of Pest 1837–1884.” ↑
Cover picture: Triumphal Arch for the Royal Majesties’ Splendid Arrival to Pest in May 4, 1857, according to the plans of Miklós Ybl. Illustration in Vasárnapi Ujság, May 10, 1857; by courtesy of Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Digitális Képarchívum.
The musical theater had a central intermediary role in the propagation of national consciousness throughout East-Central Europe in the nineteenth century, and so too in Hungary. The Pesti Magyar Színház (Pest Hungarian Theater), which was renamed after 1840 to Magyar Nemzeti Színház (Hungarian National Theater), had an identical repertoire to that in all the Habsburg Empire, following a tradition inherited from the German-language theaters. The festive performances of the institution on occasions of political representation stand out. In honor of the members of the Habsburg family, the theater performed mainly operas and music theater forms, such as the works of Bellini, Donizetti, or Weber. The Hungarian national operas were also present. The so-called Kaiserreisen (imperial voyages) of Franz Joseph I to Hungary in the 1850s deserve more attention: the emperor visited the National Theater several times and was present at the performances of Hungarian operas, such as Franz Doppler’s Ilka és a huszártoborzó (Ilka and the recruiting of the Hussars), György Császár’s (Georg Kaiser’s) A kunok (The Cumanians), or the opera entitled Erzsébet, which was written especially for the empress’s visit of 1857.
These performances of the Magyar Nemzeti Színház and its repertoire can be interpreted in several ways. First, it was an adequate response to the imperial motto Viribus unitis: a Hungarian contribution to the celebration of the royals as a part of the Habsburg Empire. Second, it served as a form of “passive resistance”: in the decades in which the independence of Hungary was under threat, it reinforced a re-enactment of the opposition between Hungarians and “the others.”
The status of the extant material connected to the operation of the Magyar Nemzeti Színház is varied. On the basis of a new appraisal of the playbills and the press, the present study examines the program structure from the establishment of the institution (1837) to the coronation of Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth in Hungary (1867), focusing on the festive performances that served as political representation by studying the different layers of interpretation of the Magyar Nemzeti Színház’s musical repertoire.
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