The land of smiles
Budapest Operetta Theatre (6th district, Nagymező utca 17.)
The building was completed in 1894 based on designs by the famous Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer, and even before World War I it was an orpheum, a music restaurant where singers, actors and artists performed. The huge stage of the theatre hall was flanked by intimate boxes in a semicircle on two floors, and the dance floor had enough space for the waltz, polka, mazurka and gallop. The city's finest French restaurant operated in the fancy winter garden, and a concert café opened on the long street front. The first troupe moved here when in 1923 the Budapest municipality decided that the operetta genre should have its own home. Today, the theatre has the latest European stage technology, and the original ornamentation and the rows of boxes on the upper floor have been restored. The former objects remaining in the building – lamp statues and columns supporting the row of boxes – harmonise with the new stained glass windows, mirrors, marble cover and with the archaic furnishing in the auditorium buffet. The auditorium of one of the most visited theatres in Hungary is illuminated by a hundred-year-old chandelier. Whether you buy tickets for an operetta or a musical, an evening at this theatre is a real celebration, among the gilded stucco decorations and velvet-covered walls. Budapest is just as much the capital of operetta as Vienna. In the Hungarian capital the genre is spiced up with new flavours in addition to preserving the highest quality of tradition. It’s known all over the world that Hungarians play and sing this genre with unique fervour, fire, acrobatic dances, rich visuals and astonishing sensual and emotional storms.