The three-month Budapest Summer Festival starts 13 June and is about to feature a variety of promising programs. This year, the event celebrates the 450th birthday anniversary of England’s national poet, the „Bard of Avon” and organizes a three-day program in honor of his outstanding work. On 20-22 June, the mini SHAKEspeare Festival brings us a number of colourful events, including some performances in English, too.
„To be or not to be” – that is a question still to be answered; to be or not to be at Budapest Summer Festival on the other hand is less open to interpretation. Musicals, dance shows, theater plays, concerts are included in the schedule of the largest cultural event in the capital city organized each summer.
As in the previous years, in 2014, a wide range of programs will be held at different locations on Margaret Island (Margitsziget) and in Városmajor. The first, on 27 June, will house two of Stravinsky’s ballets, Firebird and The Rite of Spring presented by the dancers of Moscow State Academic Classical Ballet, but Bizet’s „opera of fatal passions”, Carmen will be a performance that Margaret Island Open-Air Stage can undoubtedly be proud to be set for, too. The other location aims to muster up plays of theatres of smaller towns in Hungary and of a few from beyond the border; the National Theatre of Pécs, National Theatre of Miskolc, Gergely Csiky Theatre of Kaposvár or the Theatre of Novi Sad (Újvidék) will all present themselves on Városmajor Open-Air Stage.
But the company that will travel the longest way to be part of this joyful celebration of culture is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London. They come to present Hamlet on 21 June on Margaret Island, a performance in English (with Hungarian subtitles) around which a three-day mini festival in honor of the poet’s 450th birthday anniversary is built. The company celebrates the anniversary with a round-the-world tour, presenting the performance in all countries within 2 years. Hamlet is a mixture of political intrigue, philosofical reflection, sexual obsession, wild humor and is often said to be Shakespeare’s most brilliant work. Fortunately, Budapest is included in the itinerary, too.
Our mini SHAKEspeare Festival furthermore features a Midsummer Night’s Slam Comedy (in Hungarian) on 20 June, when performers, loyal to the genre of slam poetry, rewrite the lines of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Finally, on 22 June at the Margaret Island Water Tower, Hungarian actress Eszter Ónodi, singer Sena and W. H., a band that was formed to set Shakespeare sonnets to music will entertain guests (with songs both in English and in Hungarian).
On the other hand, the grandiose summer festivity does not only celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. It features programs in memory of the Roma and Sinti victims of the Holocaust, starts 13 June with a concert titled For My People on Margaret Island Open-Air Stage. Furthermore, it is linked to another anniversary, in honor of the 1514 peasant uprising led by Hungarian nobleman György Dózsa, Honvéd Dance Theater will present the new form of the dance show titled Szekely György Dózsa (Székely Dózsa György) on 22 August.
The Festival lasts till 30 August and ends with the concert of the Hungarian band Bin-Jip and another titled Man and Woman featuring some of the most famous Hungarian actors and actresses, among other musicians.