Whether you’re an opera buff or not, visiting the Budapest Opera House is a must! Located in the city center on the prestigious Andrássy Avenue, the Hungarian National Opera is an iconic institution of the city.
The Budapest Opera House was being renovated and reopened in March 2022.
The opera was built from 1875 to 1884 according to the plans of the Hungarian architect, Miklós Ybl, for the millennium celebration. Funded by Emperor Francis Joseph, his goal was to compete with the Vienna Opera and the Paris Opera Garnier. The Budapest Opera has a hundred statues and paintings while the auditorium is decorated with more than 7kg of gold. Its neo-Renaissance architecture and its many sumptuous Baroque decorations make it a must-see in Budapest.
The Exterior of the Budapest Opera
On the main facade, you will take in the statues of the greatest composers including Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi. Adorning the main entrance are statues of Franz Liszt and Ferenc Erkel, the first director of the opera and the composer of the Hungarian national anthem.
Succeeding Ferenc Erkel as director of the Opera, Gustav Mahler was also its conductor for four years (1888-1891).
The interior of the Budapest Opera
The interior is very impressive with gilding and statues at every turn. The rising double main staircase with its red carpet and marble columns is a unique experience.
The Budapest Opera House can accommodate more than 1,200 listeners. Composed of three floors, it boasts one of the best acoustic systems in Europe.
The shape of the main hall is called a ‘horseshoe’, characteristic of Italian-style rooms. On its ceiling, you can admire the fresco of Karoly Lotz representing Olympus and the Greek gods.
During intermission, do not hesitate to discover the many different rooms and the main buffet with access to the terrace on the 1st floor.
Good tip: on the 1st floor, during intermission, go to the buffet where you can access the terrace overlooking the prestigious Andrássy Avenue.
An impressive renovation!
The renovation of the Budapest Opera House started in 2017 under the direction of Hungarian architect Gábor Zoboki and was completed in March 2022.
While respecting the original plans and architectural aesthetics of Miklós Ybl, this project included, among other things, the complete restoration of the façade, the improvement of the acoustics and the comfort level of the audience, the restoration of the monumental decorations on all floors. The investment also included the replacement of the stage equipment and the transformation and mobilisation of the orchestral trench, which serves to improve the acoustics of the auditorium. Even the seats have been modernised, each with an opening underneath to improve air and sound.
Finally, you can’t help but be dazzled by the amount of glittering gold in the auditorium, the majestic new stage curtain, the gigantic newly polished chandelier and the huge collection of restored paintings on the ceilings and walls of the Budapest National Opera!
Photos of the Opera House after renovation:
Budapest Opera House Guided Tour
Discover the second largest stage in Europe on this guided tour of the Hungarian State Opera House, a must-see on your trip to Budapest!
A tour of the Opera House of about 60 minutes starts daily at 13.30, 15.00 and 16.30 in English. Booking at least 1 week in advance strongly recommended.
Programme and tickets of the Budapest Opera:
Opera and Ballet performances take place from September to June.
Seats on the ground and third floors are sold individually, while boxes on the first and second floors require the purchase of seats for the entire box. Cloakrooms are available on each floor. Buffet on the first and third floors.
Address: Budapest National Opera, Andrássy út 22, 6th district, Pest – map –
During the interval, feel free to explore the different rooms, with the main buffet on the 1st floor and access to the large terrace overlooking Andrássy Avenue. If you have seats on the 3rd floor, you can reach the 1st floor by going back through the main entrance on the ground floor and taking the main staircase. After the performance you usually have about 15 minutes to enjoy a tour of the different rooms and floors.
How to get there ? :
Access to the Budapest Opera House by public transport is extensive:
By metro: ‘Opera’ station, line M1,
Bus: lines N°105 and N°178 stop Opera, Trolley bus: N°70 and N°78 stop ,
By tramway lines N°4 and N°6 ‘Oktogon’ station then 5mn walk on Andrássy avenue.
Discover now a video of Budapest Opera House before its renovation:
And now this video of the Budapest National Opera after its renovation:
Address of the State Opera: Andrássy út 22, 6th district, Pest – map.
OPERA AT ERKEL THEATER
During the renovation of the Hungarian National Opera, the performances (ballets, opera and concerts) took place in the Erkel Theatre in Pest, which now continues to host many quality performances at lower prices:
Address: Theater Erkel: János Pál pápa tér 30, 8th round. in Pest – map –