The genre of grand operetta will return to the Margaret Island Open-Air Theatre and the Budapest Summer Festival with a new performance of Emmerich Kálmán’s classic Circus Princess on the evenings of 20 and 21 July. The spectacular grand operetta which is spiced up with the unique setting of a circus is a collaboration with the National Theatre of Miskolc, its director is Máté Szabó, the artistic director of the theatre who is well-versed in the genre.
Operettas have always been a popular genre in the 80 years history of the Open-Air Theatre and following a decade-long hiatus, it will make its return to the repertoire of the summer theatre with a performance of one of the most popular grand operettas by Emmerich Kálmán.
"We have already written operettas that that take place in the theatre, in front of the theatre, behind the theatre, now I want to write one, that takes place in a circus." This was the selling pitch made by Emmerich Kálmán in 1925 to his collaborators. Half a year later it premiered in Vienna and immediately had a successful run of over 300 performances, followed by premieres in Budapest, Paris, London, Saint Petersburg, and within a year, on the Broadway in New York. Besides The Csardas Queen and Countess Marica, this is the most frequently performed piece of the best-known and still most beloved operetta authors. Its an audience favourite not only because of its grandiose music, its expertly crafted arias and sweeping finale, but the unique spicing of the circus world setting.
Like all operettas, Circus Princess is a meal cooked from a web of seemingly impossible, almost uninhibited dreams and is spiced with the sour, often bitter spices of reality, yet the final result is always exotically sweet and magical. The story is not only filled with acrobats, clowns and animal trainers, but also lustrous ladies, mysterious aristocrats and heartbroken army officers. But what was the secret of Emmerich Kálmán, what’s the reason that Circus Princess, which had its German-language premiere at the times of our great-grandmothers in Vienna in 1926, is still so popular. Is it the enchanting story that’s still full of twists, the overwhelming visuals, the illusion of behind the scenes secrets being reveals, the ordinary voyeurism or the latent, deeper connections? In this tale, the world of the circus goes against the mysterious life of the aristocracy as well as their dark secrets filled with hidden lies, but the final goal is to do away with the seemingly incorrigible differences in the name of forbidden passion and love.
The Budapest audience may see the joint collaboration of the Open-Air Theatre and the National Theatre of Miskolc starring Enikő Dobó and Zoltán Miller on two occasions with premieres on 20 and 21 July 2018.