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Comedy Theatre of Budapest - Vígszinház

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Hidden : 09/03/2009
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Comedy Theatre of Budapest - Vígszinház / Budapest Theaters Series I.

Besides contemporary foreign and Hungarian world premiers, Hungarian musicals are part of the repertoire of the Comedy Theatre of Budapest. It is a modern popular theatre, meaning that it attempts to maintain its popularity among all age groups. Celebrated actors and actresses perform in the imposing Comedy Theatre.

This imposing building was built within a single year in 1896. From the very beginnings, the Comedy Theatre has employed actors and actresses that were celebrities among the citizens of Budapest. It is this establishment that was the birthplace of modern 20th-century Hungarian acting and modern Hungarian drama. It is from here that Ferenc Molnár, Jenö Heltai, Sándor Bródy, Ernö Szép and Ferenc Herczeg all set out to world fame. The Comedy Theatre' three different stages can accommodate a total of 1,700 people each evening.

On the Grand Boulevard of Budapest, just one hundred feet from the river Danube, stands an impressive theatre building. Its elegant and radiant late-nineteen-century design makes it the final section of the Boulevard's most attractive building. Evening, that time of the day when theatres are most alive, finds it in full bloom. It is no wonder that so many people fall in love with the building on first sight.

The Vígszínház is one of the finest examples of theatre buildings designed by Fellner and Helmer, whose 19th century "new-standard theatres" can be found scattered across central Europe.

From Odessa to Prague, from Vienna to Budapest, 48 breathtaking theater buildings stand as witnesses to the splendid gifts of two brilliant architects, the Austrian Fellner and the Prussian Helmer, who took the ideal theater of Europe's rising middle classes and gave it lasting shape. Like so many other major European capitals, Budapest, too, came into its own at the turn of the century, and it was only natural that its dynamically growing bourgeoisie should want its very own theater. The result of this dream was the Vígszínház, which was built in just one year, and opened its doors to the public in 1896. At the time, the grounds behind the beautiful neo-Renaissance building were still a marshy land. But as if by miracle, the beautiful city of Budapest sprang up around it; as if by magic, the Lipótváros, the new and modern home of the middle class took shape.

Like so many other major European capitals, Budapest, too, came into its own at the turn of the century, and it was only natural that its dynamically growing bourgeoisie should want its very own theater. The result of this dream was the Vígszínház, which was built in just one year, and opened its doors to the public in 1896. At the time, the grounds behind the beautiful neo-Renaissance building were still a marshy land. But as if by miracle, the beautiful city of Budapest sprang up around it; as if by magic, the Lipótváros, the new and modern home of the middle class took shape.

The still elegant auditorium of the Vígszínház, with a seating capacity of over 1.000, played to full houses from the moment of its inauguration. It was the cradle of modern acting, and the new, 20th century middle class drama. The appreciative middle class celebrated its actors, imitated their costumes, dresses, the sets and furniture. The Vígszínház enjoyed a staunch and admiring following. It introduced light French comedy as well as English social satire to Hungarian audiences, with Bernard Shaw counting as a resident playwright of sorts. Between the two world wars American plays were also produced within its walls, especially the plays of Eugene O'Neill. Chekhov, too, was on the theater's program from the beginning and from the beginning, too, the legendary actors (Irén Varsányi, Gyula Hegedüs, Pál Jávor) and great directors remained faithful to two principles: always be modern and, in the best sense of the word, always serve your audiences.

Soon, the Vígszínház became an artistic center of the region, inviting not only legendary companies from abroad, including the Meiningen Theater and the Brahm and Max Reinhardt companies, but such celebrated actors and actresses as Moissi, Eleonora Duse, and Rossi as well. It was for the Vígszínház that Ferenc Molnár wrote his plays The Devil, The Guardsman, and Liliom, which was later made into a world-famous musical known as Carousel; and produced the works of Menyhért Lengyel, who wrote the film scripts for Typhoon and Ninochka, and Lajos Bíró, who wrote the film Grand Hotel. Paul Lukas, the famous Hollywood film star, and Lili Darvas, Ferenc Molnár's wife, were among the many actors and actresses who graces its productions.

Though after the war the theater continued functioning under another name, it never lost its audience, who appreciated it now more than ever; after all, during the repressive communist years, the Vígszínház attempted to conserve middle class values, and with it, Western culture. From 1962, the legendary actor and director Zoltán Várkonyi became artistic director, and it is thanks to him that new generations also became devoted to the Vígszínház. In this manner despite financial difficulties, world crises, world wars, dictatorships and revolutions, not to mention the siege of Budapest, during which the theater was hit by a bomb (1945) the theater continued to play to packed houses after it was rebuilt in 1951. In 1961, the Vígszínház was given back its legendary name.

Today, a new generation of actors and actresses have joined hands with the middle generation to continue to bolster the prestige of the Vígszínház, a prestige which has gone untarnished for a century now, and whose name has become synonymous with first-class entertainment and legendary productions. “A modern theatre for a modern city.” This was the motivation at the end of the 19th century behind the foundation of the Vígszínház. Budapest enjoyed extremely rapid development in the final decades of the 19th century; a European capital emerged from a medium-sized city within two decades. Its burgeoning middle-class was open to new cultural impulses and became an enthusiastic audience of theatre, as demonstrated by their willingness to establish their own. The building site was on the edge of the “civilised world” at that time; however, the presence of the new theatre invited more investments in the emerging district known as Újlipótváros (New Leopold Town). Today it remains one of the most popular inner-city residential areas of Budapest.



Official website: Vígszinház


I checked the logs found that several colleagues kesser entry missing log books. I will delete the entries in the box web site beginning today - 11.04.2009 -, which I can not find an entry in the current logbook. SORRY!!




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