Hungarian State Opera

The building at No. 22 is the Hungarian State Opera. It was built between 1875 and 1884 to the designs of Miklós Ybl in Italian neo-Renaissance style. The balcony on the façade has baluster railings, with an arcaded driveway underneath. In the niches on both sides of the driveway stand the statues (by Alajos Stróbl) of Ferenc Liszt the most famous Hungarian composer of the nineteenth century, and Ferenc Erkel, creator of Hungarian national opera and the first director of the Opera House. The statues on the corner projections, between the Corinthian half columns, represent Terpsichore, Erato, Thalia and Melpomene, the Muses of dance love-poetry, comedy and tragedy. The vaults of the driveway are ornamented with sgraffiti. The statues of great composers on the façade were renovated in 1966; these represent from left to right : Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Donizetti, Glinka, Wagner, Verdi, Gounod, Bizet, Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Moniuszko and Smetana. The allegorical frescoes in the vestibule were painted by Bertalan Székely, the ones on the ceiling of the main staircase by Mór Than, the stone carvings were made by Alajos Stróbl, Gyula Donáth and György Kiss. On the landing of the staircase stands the statue of Miklós Ybl. The fresco in centre of the ceiling of the three-storey high, horseshoe-shaped auditorium was painted by Károly Lotz: it represents a serene Olympus with Apollo in the centre. The ceremonial box is decorated with Gyula Donáth's dancing figures, and the ceiling of the salon behind it with Mór Than's paintings. The 43-metre (47 yds) deep stage can be lifted or lowered 4 metres (13 ft.) by means of a hydraulic mechanism. The auditorium has three tiers with 1,300 seats. In addition to the Opera House inaugurated in 1884, the capital has a second opera house, the Erkel Theatre (in Köztársaság tér, off Rákóczi út). This theatre, originally completed in 191 l, and now seating 2,500 spectators, was rebuilt as a modern opera house and concert hall in the course of reconstruction work after the war. An ensemble, well-known all over Europe, performs in both opera houses.