Famous for its grandiose neo-renaissance architecture and extraordinary acoustics, the Budapest Opera House (officially called the Hungarian State Opera House) is definitely worth a visit! Follow the guide!
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Brief history of the Budapest Opera House
At the end of the 19 th century, the city of Budapest – founded in 1873 following the unification of the municipalities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda – is more dynamic than ever and emerging on the international cultural scene.
But in those days, the Hungarian capital only had one theater, the National Theater, which struggled to accommodate both theatrical performances and operas.
At the request of the Prime Minister, the director of the National Theater therefore proposed to build a brand new opera house. In 1873, the very year when Budapest was founded, the project was approved by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I st … On the sole condition that the Budapest Opera House would not overshadow that of Vienna!
he project was entrusted to Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl (also known for contributing to the construction of St. Stephen’s Basilica). But the city of Budapest also had conditions: only Hungarian craftsmen were to participate in the construction of the opera house, and the materials used for the construction were to come exclusively from Hungary. Miklós Ybl fulfilled the contract (with a few exceptions) and called on a host of famous Hungarian artists: Bertalan Székely, Mór Than, Alajos Strobl, Károly Lotz…
The construction works lasted 9 years and the Hungarian Opera House was inaugurated on September 27, 1884.
Visiting the Budapest Opera House
Short description of the Budapest Opera House
The least we can say is that the Budapest Opera House is quite spectacular! The building – which blends neo-renaissance and baroque influences – is as grandiose on the outside as it is on the inside!
The facade of the Budapest Opera House
The facade of the Opera House is adorned with statues of famous composers (Mozart, Beethoven or Verdi). The entrance is flanked by two statues representing Hungarian virtuoso Franz Liszt, as well as Ferenc Erkel, first director of the Opera House and composer of the national anthem of Hungary.
Inside the Opera House
The interior of the Budapest Opera House displays an impressing collection of gilding, sculptures, frescoes and sumptuous decorative elements.
The foyer of the Opera – which is covered with marble and gilding – is undoubtedly reminiscent of Italian Renaissance palaces. The Doric marble columns add a touch of ancient classicism. The ceiling is decorated with representations of the 9 muses of the Greek mythology.
With its red carpet and marble columns, the grand staircase – entirely made of marble – is quite simply magnificent. The ceiling is covered with works by Hungarian painter Mór Than.
The auditorium, the layout of which follows the shape of a horseshoe, is equally majestic. Organized over three floors, it can accommodate up to 1,261 spectators. The impressive ceiling fresco is the work of Károly Lotz. The huge bronze candlestick was made in Mainz, Germany.
The royal staircase is also richly decorated and is definitely worth a peek. Legend has it that Princess Sissi loved the (slimming) mirror that hangs in the staircase.
Performances and concerts at the Budapest Opera House
From September to June, performances (opera or ballet) are given almost every day of the week.
Tickets (which are very affordable) can be purchased online on the opera website or on site.
🎩 Proper attire required 🎩
Please note, formal attire is required during performances. If you plan to attend an opera or a ballet, remember to bring adequate clothing!
Budapest Opera House Guided Tour
Guided tours give visitors the opportunity to explore the interior of the Budapest Opera House and learn about its long history.
Tours are available in several languages and end with a small representation.
You can book your tickets online or on site, up to 20 minutes before the start of the visit.
👉 More info: guided tour of the Opera House
Admission rates are:
|Full price||2,500 forints|
|Children under 6||Free of charge|
|Children under 14||1250 forints|
|Students and visitors over 65||2000 forints|
Getting to the Budapest Opera House
To get to the Budapest Opera House, head to the Terézváros district (on the Pest side), a short distance from St Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Synagogue of Budapest.
The nearest public transports are:
- the Subway : Opera station (line M1)
- the bus : Opéra stop (line 105)
Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also pull up close to the Budapest Opera House. They’re a handy way to take in the sights and landmarks of the capital city, all while enjoying the fresh air.
👉 For more info, click here.
Address: Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Budapest Opera House Opening Hours
Guided tours start at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. daily. Theatrical performances are generally held at 7 or 8 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends, it is often possible to attend an opera or ballet during the day. Find out more on the official website of the Opera House.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in advance!
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The Budapest Card