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yk's Trip Report - 11 days of Art Nouveau in Vienna & Budapest Spring 2009

yk's Trip Report - 11 days of Art Nouveau in Vienna & Budapest Spring 2009

Old May 11th, 2009, 09:38 AM
  #81  
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Hi thursdaysd - the coffees at Gerbeaud were between 750-790 HUF (latte and cappuccino). I don't know how much they cost at other coffee houses. However, for coffees with spirits, or an Iced coffee (which I was contemplating), they were in the range of 1500HUF, which I do agree is pretty pricey.

Yes, we got a real bill at Central. In fact, there was an old lady by herself in the next table, and I wonder if she's part of the Central family. She was having a long lunch, reading a newspaper, and helping herself with drinks and dishes from the kitchen. Not sure if her presence made a difference or not, but our waiter was very friendly - probably in his best behavior!
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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yk - I don't remember the exact amounts, but I do remember thinking that cappuccino seemed to be about twice the price at Gerbeauds.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Yk - I am curious as to what your over all feeling now that it is over was of Budapest? I seem to have the same impressions of places based on your previous reporting so am very curious... thanks
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:21 AM
  #84  
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<b>Day 10 Budapest, Part II
Buda Hill, Concert at Franz Liszt Academy (Zeneakadémia)</b>

We rode the siklo (funicular) up <u>Buda Hill</u>, and the upper terminus has a nice viewing platform where one can get a great view of the Danube, Chain Bridge, Gresham Palace, and St Stephen's Basilica:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3707.jpg

We walked towards <b>Matthias Church</b> (Mátyás Templom). Parts of the church and the tower are covered with scaffolding (and according to Clifton, the scaffolding has been around since 2004!) The tiled roof is really quite breathtaking.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3716.jpg

They charge admission to enter the church (700HUF). Every inch of the interior is covered by frescoes. While some frescoes depict figures, most are geometric patterns which has an Eastern flavor. I feel like I was inside a Byzantine church rather than a gothic one.

Frescoes and altar:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3718.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3717.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3721.jpg

Right next to the church is <b>Fisherman's Bastion</b>. The equestrian statue is of King Stephen. Views of Pest are great from that viewpoint.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3726.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3713.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3731.jpg

By now, I was getting tired and we have a classical concert to attend tonight. C & I decided to skip the Buda Castle section and head home to rest. We picked up Bus 16 from Buda Hill, which terminates at Deak Ter where we caught the Metro Line 1 home.

We had a quick dinner at <b>Liszt Ferenc tér</b> (Franz Liszt Square), right next to the concert venue. The Square is quite a lively area, lined with at least a dozen of restaurants with indoor/outdoor seating. We picked <u>Cafe Vian</u>, simply because it was the busiest.

I was still full from lunch, so I ordered the "Hungarian Country Plate" appetizer. It was so-so, with a bit of sausage, cheese, ham, and lots of small pieces of fried lard. Yes, that's exactly what I needed - fried lard - after the heavy duck confit earlier today. C had seared duck breast with potato pancakes, which was far better.
http://www.cafevian.com/en%20menuoldal.html
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3736.jpg

Concert tonight is at the famed <b>Franz Liszt Academy of Music</b> (Zeneakadémia). I wasn't so much interested in the music, but rather, wanted to see the beautiful <u>art nouveau interior</u> of the concert hall. When I first heard about the hall, I looked online and found out there was only one concert held there during our stay in Budapest. The actual Academy website is in Hungarian only, while the online ticket website only lists the concert as <i>Mendelssohn</i> without any further information. I guess one can't go wrong with Mendelssohn, right?

Ticket prices are very affordable. For our concert, there were 4 price categories (1 being the most expensive). We bought category 2 at 3200HUF each and have very good seats. I stopped by the box office before dinner to pick up our tickets, and got the
"No, it's not possible!" reply. "Please come back 1 hour before the concert begins."

While the interior of the hall is really quite beautiful, I was more taken by the foyer frescoes (upper level) and the foyer mosaic (street level).

Building facade:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3734.jpg
Interior: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3740.jpg
Upper level fresco: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3741.jpg
Street level mosaic: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3737.jpg

[If you want to check out the lobby/foyer decorations but don't want to attend a concert, I suggest you try going on an evening when there is a performance scheduled (preferably 30mins before concert begins). You are allowed to wander in the lobby without a ticket. I would NOT bother going during the day time, as the area is not lit and you won't see anything in the dark.]

So, what was the concert??? The programme was in Hungarian, and it took me the entire first half to decipher the basics. I figured out the first half was:
String Symphony No.10
Violin Concerto (violinist: Barnabas Keleman)
The orchestra was the Hungarian Telecom Symphony Orchestra, conductor was Andras Keller.

However, for the life of me, I could not tell what is in the second half. It is a piece with vocalists??? <i>Szentivánéji álom</i> is the Hungarian name of the piece. I can't even begin to make an educated guess! Finally, I asked the young Hungarian couple sitting next to me to translate. Ah-ha! <i>A Midsummer Night's Dream!</i>

We all thought the music was great, especially the violin concerto and the violinist. He got (I assume) the Hungarian version of standing ovation. What I mean is, the audience doesn't do standing ovation. Instead, everyone <u>claps in unison</u> - on the same beat from slow to fast - as the sign of appreciation. Kelemen came out and played 2 short pieces as encore. I have never experienced this before (applause in unison) in any concert halls all over the world, so I wonder if this is a communist thing? Being a tourist, I clapped out of sync!

A word about Hungarian fashion: Overall, a far cry compared to the Viennese concert-goers. To me, their clothes seem very dated, like from the 80s. We noticed many middle-aged and elderly women dye their hair red to dark red. For the younger generation, anything goes. At the concert tonight, we even spotted a man in his 30s wearing a pair of metallic silvery-gold sneakers! Yikes!
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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That's an interesting report of your Hungarian concert experience. I didn't know that there are vocal parts to Midsummer Night's Dream (just looked it up). Is there a suite or an abbreviated version?

But you most likely would have figured out what that piece was when you got to the Wedding March.

The Mendelssohn Concerto is really lovely!
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Did you really need the entire first half to figure out the Mendelssohn VC? I could have told you within five seconds. That piece is (deservedly) popular.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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2 things I forgot to mention about Zeneakadémia:

1) the seats are very hard - barely padded. I found out the seats were the same the next night at the Opera House. Is this a communist thing too? Hard, uncomfortable seats to keep the audience from falling asleep?

2) As soon as we started snapping photos of the interior before the concert, we got reprimanded by one of the lady ushers.
"You MUST!!! NO pictures!!!"

While we put our cameras away, we witnessed at least a dozen of others gleefully snapping pictures away (even with flash!) and no ushers went up to them!

[Photos ARE allowed in the foyers.]

----------------------
Regarding my impressions of Budapest at this point:

I have really warmed up to Budapest by now. The views today (Chain Bridge, up on Buda Hill) are really amazing. The worn and old buildings don't bother me anymore, and really, the main touristy areas are kept fairly clean and those buildings are mostly restored. The street where our apt building is remains dirty and littered with dog poo, but even that I've gotten used to by then.

While I am still a little bothered by the "treatments" we get from some older Hungarians, I now understand that's the way they are, as that's the culture in which they were brought up. We just shrug our shoulders and laugh about it. I tell myself this is no different than the China I know in the 1970s and 80s (my parents took us on trips to China a lot during those years).
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Old May 11th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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It was quite obvious when the soloist came out with a violin. But of course, I couldn't have guess what the piece was - <i>hegedűverseny</i> - until the violinist came out!

I don't think the Opus 61 was played in its entirety. They played at least 6 or more pieces, and only 2 has vocals in it. There is a description of the piece in the programme in Hungarian, but there's just no way I can tell which segments were performed in the concert.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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yk,

when we were in Budapest we didn't manage to take in a classical concert [though we did go to the opera which was very good] but with a degree of trepidation we did go to a "folklore evening", recommended by our hotel.

the first job was to find it - the building was quite anonymous and we walked past several times before we realised what it was. then we were plunged into hungarian society, as teh building doubled as a restaurant cum entertainment centre as well as a theatre. so whilst we were watching and enjoying fabulously good gypsy violin playing, upstairs some rather elderly and stout hungarians were dancing the hungarian equivalent of the Hokey Cokey!

who knows what went on in communist times behind closed doors?

regards, ann
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Old May 13th, 2009, 05:06 AM
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We were in Budapest 2 years ago and loved it.

We were there first week of April. We loved that the city wasn't "perfect". There is such a feelling of what they've gone through. Beautiful architecture that hasn't always been taken care of. But you can see through the grime. I don't need polished buildings to enjoy a city. It's all interesting. And, truly, there are beautiful well-kept or restored buildings as well. I really felt that I was in a diferent place - yes, culture and attitude-wise. Had some great meals for next to nothing. Went to cafes that aren't on the tourist trail. Stayed in the Buda area and was glad we did. Lots of walking up and down hills, yes, but felt were were in a real neighborhood.

Went to see their ballet company at the Opera Hose. They did a ballet version of "Gone with the Wind"!!! Very interesting, (and funny sometimes) to say the least.

Went to Eger overnight (town about 2 hours away.) Wonderful.

Ready to go back.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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I need to finish this up before I run out of steam...

<b>Day 11 Budapest, Part I
St Stephens, Synagogue, Central Market Hall, Vaci Utca, and an encore</b>

Can you believe this is the last full day of our trip? It seemed to go by so quickly!

We began our morning back at <u>Roosevelt Ter</u> for more photos of Chain Bridge, then we headed towards <b>St Stephen's Basilica</b>, the largest church in Budapest and dedicated to King Stephen (we saw his crown inside Parliament).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3757.jpg

The dome measures 96m high, the same height as the dome of the Parliament. The numbers 96, 896, and 1896 have huge significance in Hungary. 896 was the year the country of Hungary was founded, when the Magyar tribes settled in the Carpathian Basin. King Stephen was the first Christian king of Hungary, crowned in 1000AD. For the 1896 millennium celebration, many buildings were erected including: the Parliament, Central Market Hall, Metro Line 1, Heroes Square, just to name a few. Important structures have staircases with 96 steps, and domes are 96 meters high.

Back to St Stephen's. The interior is vast and quite impressive. It also houses one of the holiest relic in Hungary - the mummified right hand of St Stephen. It is housed inside a reliquary, which in turn is inside a glass case. To illuminate the case, one has to put in 200HUF for a 2-min "light show". The rest of my group happened to see it when it was lit up, but I didn't' have the luck. One can climb the tower (for a fee) which provides a great view, but we passed.

Dome: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3761.jpg

Altar: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3759.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3764.jpg

Next on our agenda is the Great Synagogue. We decided to walk there. As luck would have it, we passed by an <u>open-faced sandwich shop</u> (across from Deak Ter), so of course we had to go in for a snack. Most are under 200HUF a piece, but I opted for the caviar one for 270HUF. It tasted pretty good, certainly a nice snack for just $1.25 USD.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3765.jpg

To enter the <b>Synagogue</b>, we had to go through the metal detector and security check. Somehow, I thought entrance into the Synagogue was free, but it wasn't. The only ticket option was combined Synagogue and Museum (1600HUF), but we really didn't have time for both. So we just peeked inside the Synagogue through the glass doors and left.

http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3771.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3768.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3770.jpg

We caught tram #47 from nearby which dropped us off directly outside <b>Central Market Hall</b>. Yes, we wanted to come back here for more fish soup, and more importantly, souvenir shopping.

C & I again split a couple of dishes: fish soup (just as good), another plate of sausage and sauerkraut. We also got 2 pieces of stuffed cabbage (Töltött Káposzta), a popular dish in Hungary. The stuffed cabbage has rice, ground meat, onion, and of course, paprika. It was delicious. The total of all these dishes was 2150HUF - a really great deal for 2. C was still thinking about the delicious sweet <i>Tokaji</i> she had the other day, so she ordered a glass again.

<b>Souvenir-Shopping at Central Market Hall</b>
After lunch, our group split up to go shopping. We allocated over 1 hour for it, which I initially thought was plenty of time. Well, I was wrong! C & I teamed up together, and as we had noted the other day, prices for the same items vary a lot, depending on the location of the stalls.

The stalls in the center aisle closest to the main entrance are the most expensive, while the stalls half-way down on the right aisle (your right when you enter the Hall) have the best prices. We must have spent at least 45 minutes checking out the goods and prices of each stall.

In the end, we picked stall <u>D-15</u>, which has one of the lowest prices and a decent selection. The shopkeeper is a young woman who speaks good English and helpful. Since we bought quite a bit, we got her to give us an additional 10% discount. I bought paprika, saffron, and dried porcini from her.

Just as an example of how much the prices vary, one popular item for sale is a twin-pack of paprika (sweet and hot). At D-15, the 50g/50g pack sells for 500 HUF. The stalls in the central aisle sell them for 700HUF. Those stalls seem to have prices at least 20-40% higher for everything.

2 stalls down at D-13 is a stall selling dried porcini mushrooms. The owner has very good quality products. Some packages are caps-only and they are big, unlike some other stalls that sell broken up caps-and-stems. Of course, prices are higher and C bought one of the caps-only package for 2500HUF (70gms).

For foie gras (tinned), we found the cheapest prices at the meat counters in the back along the central aisle. Pretty much all the stalls carry the <u>Rex Ciborum</u> brand. There are various sizes and types, including blocks, with truffles, <i>naturel</i>, and parfait (least expensive). I was interested in buying the 100gm <i>naturel</i>, which I understand is a pure pate not mixed with "other stuff". The lowest price for the 100gm we found was 2650HUF, while you can pay an extra 1000HUF for it at the expensive stalls near the entrance.

Moral of the story is: go towards the back of the market, as well as the R aisle for best prices. If you want to save money, it pays to do your homework. I wholeheartedly recommend stall <u>D-15</u>.

After our shopping spree, it was time to stroll along the famous <b>Vaci Utca</b>, a touristy, pedestrian-only street. I don't think it is a must-see, as all we've noticed was being accosted by waitstaff from the restaurants that line the street. There are a few buildings worth noting as we got very close to Vorosmarty ter:

Vaci Utca 15, a restaurant with wood gothic facade:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3774.jpg

Vaci Utca 11, art nouveau facade designed by Ödön Lechner (1888)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3776.jpg

Vaci Utca 9, Philanthia flower shop with Art Nouveau design (and the oldest flower shop in Budapest, 1905)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3778.jpg

Back at Vorosmarty Ter, we had an encore of coffee and cakes at <b>Cafe Gerbeaud</b>. Yes, we enjoyed our experience there so much that we went back a second time! The 5 of us split 3 cakes: the Dobostorta, Sachertorte, and a truffletorte. The dobostorta is still too dry for my taste. The sachertorte tastes like a brownie cake. I like the truffletorte the best: rich and moist. The rest of my group seem to like the dobostorta the best.

C & I left for the Opera House, while M and her parents did some more walking around. I already have a ticket for tonight's La Traviata, but C was interested in going last minute.

There were 3 agents at the box office, and we were 2nd in line. We waited for over 15 minutes for our turn! People there just seemed to take their time... and an older woman who came later actually pushed her way through and blatantly jumped the line! Finally, it was our turn and C was able to get a ticket.

To be continued...
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Still enjoying this! I'm pretty sure I know that sandwich place - yummy! I've eaten the caviar there, and the smoked salmon... I think it's www.duran.hu.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Yes! that's exactly it!

I had thought the open-faced sandwiches are more popular and would be available everywhere, but that Duran shop was the one and only one we saw during our entire day. I wish there were more around as I would have happily gone there daily for a snack!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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hi again, yk,

while you were near the Franz Liszt Academy, did you go to his house? we came across it on our trip and as it was so cheap [can't remember exactly how mcuh but no banks went bust paying for it] we went in. although we weren't that impressed with thelay-out or information, we WERE impressed by one of the exhibits - Beethoven's piano, which was given to Listz after Beethoven died. what was so extraordinary about it was it's size - it was tiny compared to the concert grands that Liszt played on. I had a image of poor Ludwig hammering out his music on it, increasingly unable to hear what he was playing.

another tip - useless to you now - the sports bar [owned by an ex olympic boxer to judge by the photos on the wall] on the main street opposite the cathedral sells excellent fish soup!

please don't run out of steam before you finish,

regards, ann
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Old May 13th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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ann, I was afraid you would ask me that , because I saw that you visited it on your trip (from your TR). No, we didn't go, even though the museum is right on OUR street - I mean, the street where our apt is, and we walked by it daily! We already had so much on our list, so frankly, it didn't make the cut this time.

If it makes you feel better, I did visit the Franz Liszt Museum in Bayreuth. The sandals he had worn are on diplay.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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<b>Day 11 Budapest, Part II

The perfect way to end a vacation - La Traviata at the Hungarian State Opera House</b>

[thursdaysd, it's okay if you skip this part. ]

First of all, a minor blunder on my part. I was previously cautioned by someone who told me not to buy the cheapest nosebleed seats, because the nosebleed section has a separate entrance from the side of the opera house; hence, one cannot see the grand staircase and foyer of the main house.

There are a total of 8 price categories, so I felt pretty safe buying Cat 5, for a whopping 8000HUF. (I kept wondering why everyone says opera tickets are cheap in Budapest! Cat 1 tickets go for 18,500HUF... but more about that later.)

Unfortunately, I wasn't using my brain when I bought my ticket. There were Cat 5 seats in various sections of the opera house, some were in the back rows in loges on the lower levels, but that means your view will be blocked by folks in the front row. In the end, I picked 2nd row in the Balcony, which to me seemed like the best choice for Cat 5 seats.
http://www.jegymester.hu/images/nezoter_nagy_33.gif

Perhaps people go to bed early in Hungary, because the opera starts at 7pm! When we got to the opera house, I was <i>horrified</i> to find out that the <u>entire Balcony</u> is accessed by the side entrance, the very thing I was warned about! I should have noticed that when I chose my seat... so it was entirely my fault. As a result, I only saw the main lobby and was then shooed off to the side entrance.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3783.jpg

While my seat was the 2nd row of Balcony, it was the last row of Cat 5, so the people behind me had Cat 6 tickets. C also got Cat 6 for *just* 4500HUF. Even though her seat was in the last row of the house, it still has a fairly decent view. I just don't think my seat is worth almost twice of hers. View of the stage from my 8000 HUF seat:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3788.jpg

The interior of the auditorium is really beautiful:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3790.jpg

Close-up of Loges: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3794.jpg

Ceiling painting and chandelier:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3793.jpg

La Traviata was <i>brilliant</i>. I knew the opera house only has projected surtitles in Hungarian, so I had brushed up on it by watching it on DVD right before the trip (coincidentally, starring Norah Amsellem who sang Manon in Vienna).

While the staging and costumes were both a bit outdated, the singing was great. Violetta was sung by Elena Mosuc, a Romanian soprano who sings regularly at all the major opera houses in Europe. She's not well-known in the US because she's never performed here (probably visa problems).
http://www.mosuc.com/

Alfredo was sung by American tenor, Charles Castronovo. He sung beautifully, but his voice isn't strong enough for the opera house, and the Hungarian Opera House isn't that big compared to others.
http://charlescastronovo.com/

The star of this performance, however, is the famous Italian baritone, <b>Renato Bruson</b>, who sang the role of Germont. He was just incredible, still with such a beautiful voice in his 70s. After his aria in Act II, he got the "Hungarian standing ovation" again, ie, applause in unison. The applause went on for at least several minutes.

During the intermission, I went up to one of the usher ladies (3 were chatting at the coat check) to ask where the stage door is. At first, they didn't know what I was asking about. I gestured, saying "sign" and "autograph", and the 3 of them conversed in Hungarian. They all looked at me rather severely, and probably thought it was the strangest request they have ever heard. One of them kept shaking her head and said, "No, it's not possible!". More Hungarian conversation took place. Why would anyone want autographs of the singers? Finally, the red-haired middle-aged usher whom I asked said to me,
"Wait here for me after the opera. I'll take you."

As the curtain fell at the end of the opera, everyone clapped in unison again. I was so into the mood that I clapped along with them... what a feeling that is - like we are all unified as ONE. Perhaps this is what communism is about.

When the applause finally died down, C & I made our way to the coat check area, and saw the usher finishing up her duties. After everyone had left, she locked up the doors to the auditorium, then took us through the backstage route (via a hallway with changing rooms for the ballerinas), then down the elevator to the lobby of the stage door section. She said something to the security guard and bid goodnight to us.

I have been to the stage doors of a few opera houses, and they are usually mobbed with fans. Here? There was only 1 other Italian couple there. After about 30 minutes, the maestro came out. The Italian couple chatted with him, and we found out that he and Bruson had planned on doing an encore of his aria in Act II, but I guess Bruson decided against it while on the stage and signalled maestro to move on to the next bit.

Finally, Bruson came out (wearing blue-tinged sunglasses, no less), and he kindly signed an autograph for me. Next was Castronovo with his soprano wife. He was a bit surprised to see Americans waiting for him there... he will be singing the role of Alfredo at the SF Opera in June, in case you want to know. Ms Mosuc came out last, and she was very happy to see fans wanting her autograph too! In fact, she even gave each of us a photo of her (as Violetta in Tokyo) so we had her sign those too. All-in-all, what a fantastic ending to my trip. Of course, I was very thankful to the kindness shown to us by the usher, who went out of her way and duties to take us to the stage door.

[About those prices for the opera... When I got home, I finally realized that we went during the <b>Mayfest at the Opera</b>. That means, they have better casts for the operas, and thus, higher prices. Normally, Cat 5 goes for 4700HUF and Cat 6 goes for 1200HUF.]

If you're interested, I bought both the Franz Liszt Academy and the Opera House tickets through Jegymester. It is THE online ticket website for arts and culture events in Budapest. It has an English version, very user-friendly, and it doesn't charge any fees.
http://www.jegymester.hu/index.jsp?lang=ENG
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Now, where did you get the idea that I go to Opera Houses for ballet, not music? [lol] Comes of being almost tone deaf. It's a pity, because I like to sing, but it's unkind to the people next to me!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Dear yk, You have been so helpful in helping us plan our trip to Vienna and Budapest in June. I love your detail, whether it is the information about the Hungarian State Opera, where to buy items for a good price in the Central Market of Budapest, or information on the Melk-Danube Cruise trip out of Vienna........it's all wonderful. Last week, we bought tickets for Aida at the Hungarian State Opera in the Category 5 and were charged 3,800 HUF. Don't know why it was cheaper that night, and it was a Saturday night. I'll try to reciprocate and do a trip report when we get back. Your report was fabulous!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Wow, yk, what a splendid conclusion to your visit to Budapest. I saw Tosca at the Hungarian State Opera House when I was there a year ago and it was terrific. I was seated in one of the loge seats (so if you'd turned to your right to take that photo instead of the left you have seen them), and also bought my ticket at jegymester (incredibly convenient). Price much lower than the range you were looking at, as it wasn't Mayfest.

The other people in my box left at intermission, and the usher smuggled (I assume) a little girl (maybe 10 years old) into one of the vacated seats. Fine with me---she was clearly much more interested in the show than the previous occupants.

For those of you who are reading this thread I'll point out that the Opera House features a really lovely bar (at the same level as the loges) where you can get a drink and snack at intermission and then head out onto a large balcony. Lovely if it's nice weather.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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yk
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Now, now Therese... you're really making me jealous about the bar and balcony at the Opera House! I guess that's a reason for a return trip to Budapest so that I can sit at the lower levels!

jrjcolllins - I'm glad you found this helpful, and I hope you have a great time on your trip. I stopped asking "why" when I was in Budapest, cuz the answer is always, "That's the way it is! Take it or Leave it!"
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