The Spinning Room

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June 2024


The setting is a spinning room in the Székely region


In the first scene, a man and woman say farewell before he is taken away. A little girl tries to stop him leaving. Two gendarmes appear at the doorway, search the room; the man goes out. In the second scene the woman bemoans her fate. Women and girls from the village enter in the third scene, attend to chores around the spinning room and a young woman sings a lively song of their life with so many men absent from home. There is a dance and they try to comfort the lone woman. The woman sings of thirty-three weeping willow branches and thirty-three peacocks, then a neighbour enters with a song about animals bought at the market (with their distinctive sounds). The fourth scene is a choral exchange between the young men who have entered and the young women who exchange taunts. In a pantomime a young man dresses as a ghost but is beaten by the girls. The fifth scene involves a young man Lázlós singing to his mother that he is dying of heartache, and there follows a traditional folk-song of spinning gold and silver, and the ballad ‘Ilona Görög’ (Helen). Scene six introduces a masker, disguised as a flea claiming riches but looking for lodgings, and seeking food. However, the gendarmes return - the man they arrested has protested his innocence. An old woman claims to know the real culprit – it is the 'flea' who is now hiding in a corner. In the final scene the man is reunited with the woman he loves and the village celebrates in song and dance.

Kodály wrote of the beauty and variety of Hungarian folk songs "like jewels sparkling in a strange, ancient fire"; these form the thread of the work, while his accompaniments are "full of colour, lush chromaticism and contrapuntal effects based on close canon and imitation".

Program and cast

Balázs Kocsár
The lady of the house
Ildikó Komlósi
Her suitor
Csaba Sándor
A young man
Gergely Boncsér
Neighbour/The mother of the young man
Bernadett Wiedemann
A girl
Kinga Kriszta
The flea
Attila Erdős
The mother of the girl
Andrea Meláth
Featuring the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus, as well as the Hungarian National Ballet

Hungarian State Opera


If all the seats are sold out for the selected time, but you still want to see the production on that day, 84 of the extremely affordable standing seats will be sold at the theatre, 2 hours before the start of the performance, with which you can visit the gallery on the 3rd floor. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office of the Budapest Opera House. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the stage can only be seen to a limited extent from the standing places and the side seats, but at the same time, following the performance is also supported by television broadcasting on the spot.

The Opera House is not only one of the most significant art relic of Budapest, but the symbol of the Hungarian operatic tradition of more than three hundred years as well. The long-awaited moment in Hungarian opera life arrived on September 27, 1884, when, in the presence of Franz Joseph I. the Opera House was opened amid great pomp and ceremony. The event, however, erupted into a small scandal - the curious crowd broke into the entrance hall and overran the security guards in order to catch a glimpse of the splendid Palace on Sugar út. Designed by Mikós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lived up to the highest expectations. Ornamentation included paintings and sculptures by leading figures of Hungarian art of the time: Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely, Mór Than and Alajos Stróbl. The great bronze chandelier from Mainz and the stage machinery moda by the Asphaleia company of Vienna were both considered as cutting-edge technology at that time.


Many important artists were guests here including Gustav Mahler, the composer who was director in Budapest from 1887 to 1891. He founded the international prestige of the institution, performing Wagner operas as well as Magcagni’ Cavalleria Rusticana. The Hungarian State Opera has always maintained high professional standards, inviting international stars like Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Monserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Cura, Thomas Hampson and Juan Diego Flórez to perform on its stage. The Hungarian cast include outstanding and renowed artists like Éva Marton, Ilona Tokody, Andrea Rost, Dénes Gulyás, Attila Fekete and Gábor Bretz.

Attila Nagy
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