08 April 2009

Budapest - Opera House

Our apartment was right around the corner from the Opera. This opera house is rated the third best sounding acoustics in the world, right behind Milan and Paris. Wow.

When you are entering the Opera house there are paintings like this all over the ceiling.

Because we had a stroller and couldn't go up and down the stairs we got to sit in one of the boxes, while the rest of the tour was down below in the "cheap seats".

The emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, paid for most of the construction of the opera - on the condition that the opera not be bigger than the opera in Vienna. And workers only got paid based on the balance of what was left after building materials had been purchased. So they had to come in under budget I guess.

Off to the right under the large arch is the emperor's box. He only attended the grand opening, and then never came back. It is said that he was angry because the opera was more grand than the one in Vienna. We were also told that it was the first Opera house designed with fire protection, because a previous one burned down and killed hundreds. There is a large fire curtain on the stage that weighs 16 tons, and can contain a fire on the stage for an hour and a half, and there are huge tanks of water that can instantly flood the stage if needed.

This is the grand staircase of the opera. Which way is Hell's Backbone? (Southern Utah joke...)

Elora slept through most of the tour. Some of the other guests on the tour were laughing at her little sleeping pose. Oliver was amusing himself by pulling the hair of some girls sitting in front of us during part of the tour... He also grabs nearby skirts and purses. I think we need to teach him some manners.

The mirror on the wall in the room behind me is not only attractive, but also functional. Apparently it was customary for nobility to walk up the staircase without looking behind them. This mirror was placed at the head of the stairs so that the nobility could walk up the stairs and admire the room without gawking or turning their heads.

After the tour was over, our group went down the grand staircase. Before we could head for the elevator, a man and a woman from the Opera came out and started singing. Apparently we had walked into a private concert, and got to enjoy it without paying... The acoustics are really amazing, as you can see (hear?) in our video, even with our junky little camera. Elora was awake by this point, and happy to hear the music. It is worth watching the video just to see how pleased Elora is at the end. Just after this she asked me if the man and woman were Beauty and the Beast.

So can any opera fans name that tune?

1 comment:

  1. Nice photographs of the orera house. By the way the song is Un Bel Dei (Italian) not sure of the spelling or One Fine Day (English)from Madame Butterfly by Puccini.


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