Armel Opera Festival launches a free shuttle service from Budapest, NOVOTEL Budapest City Hotel Parking (Address: Budapest XII., Alkotás út 63-67.) to MuTh Theatre, Vienna at 2 p.m. on the 3rd and the 4th July. The bus leaves for Budapest immediately after the performance. After registration you can get on the ARMEL bus with a theatre ticket valid for the given day.
Please register at: info@armel.hu


1 July 2018, 7.30 P.M. – Palace of Arts (Budapest, Hungary)

Christoph Willibald Gluck:

The deepest shame is not to feel loved

NorrlandsOperan (Umeå, Sweden)
Director: Åsa Kalmér
Conductor: Olof Boman
With: Pannon Philharmonic, Armel Opera Festival’s resident orchestra NorrlandsOperan Choir



Opera in three acts.
In Italian with Hungarian and Engish supertitles.

Libretto: Ranieri de Calzabigi
Director: Åsa Kalmér
Conductor: Olof Boman

Orfeo: Susanna Levonen
Euridice: Henriikka Gröndahl
Amor: Jeanne Gérard (soprano / France) – COMPETITION ROLE

Set & costume designer: Bente Rolandsdotter
Choreographer: Örjan Andersson
Lighting designer: Ville Toikka
Make-up: Daniela Krestelica
Illustration: Greta Rönneskog

With: Pannon Philharmonic, Armel Opera Festival’s resident orchestra NorrlandsOperan Choir


Love is to strive to really be seen by the other. And after all, it literally does seem to conquer all. Even death.

Originally, Orfeo and Euridice’s story takes place in the middle of Greek mythology. This time, however, interpreted by Swedish director Åsa Kalmér and set designer Bente Rolandsdotter, the plot is set in present day.
It takes off in the home of a couple whose daily life and relationship could be anyone’s. But in the moment of death, an undiscovered inner world also appears. Mind´s winding paths open with all it´s dreams and doubts, happiness, trust and fear – all intertwined with the classical, ravishing music by Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Mirrored through a relationship outside the norm, Orfeo & Euridice meet love’s demands and opportunities, reflected in a modern-day mythology.

NorrlandsOprean, famous for its grandiose, spectacular opera productions is dazzling Hungarian audiences with a one of a kind interpretation of the one of the most beautiful pieces in opera history.


(soprano, France) / AMOR

Jeanne Gérard earned a degree in philosophy at Sorbonne. She studied opera singing at the Manhattan Shool of Music under the guidance of Patricia Misslin. She has been interested in dancing and acting since she was a child, and she went on to become the protagonist in several stage plays and musicals in New York and Paris. She gave several concerts in the Carnegie Hall, the Symphony Space, the Danny Kaye Playhouse, the Bargemusic, the Opera America and the Spectrum. An ardent advocate of chamber music, she is one of the twenty founding members of Rébow Ensemble. In 2018, she sang in the roles of both Amor and Frasquita in Carmen, staged by La Fabrique Opéra.

2 July 2018, 7.30 P.M. – Palace of Arts (Budapest, Hungary)

Dejan Despic:



By the Serbian National Theatre (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Director: Ivana Dragutinović Maričić
Conductor: Željka Milanović
With: The orchestra, choir and ballet of the Serbian National Theatre




2 July 2018 – 7:30 P.M. / Müpa (Budapest)
Dejan Despić:

The production of the Serbian National Theatre (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Libretto: Vesna és Dejan Miladinović (based on the novel by Stevan Sremac)
Director: Ivana Dragutinović Maričić (directorial concept by the late Dejan Miladinović)
Conductor: Željka Milanović
Choirmaster: Vesna Kesić Krsmanović
Concertmaster: Vladimir Djuković, Sergej Šapovalov

Friar Ćira – Saša Štulić / Saša Petrović
Persa, his wife – Violeta Srećković / Marina Pavlović Barać
Melania, their daughter – Danijela Jovanović / Laura Pavlović / Pamela Kiš Ignjatov
Pera, village teacher – Branislav Cvijić
Erža, their servant – Marija Cvijić / Maja Andrić
Friar Spira – Nebojša Babić / Goran Krneta
Sida, his wife – Verica Pejić
Jula, their daughter – Jelena Končar / Višnja Popov
Žuža, their servant – Aleksandra Marković / Ana Bajić
Pera Tocilov, village coachman – Antonel Boldan (tenor, Romania / France) – SINGER IN THE COMPETITION ROLE
Šaca, the village barber – Vasa Stajkić / Branislav Stankov
Frau Gabriella, the village gossip – Darija Olajoš Čizmić / Vesna Aćimović
Friar Oluja (‘Storm’), Spira’s friend – Miloš Milojević
Roksa, his wife – Marta Jakobac Morar
Bishop Temišvarski – Željko R. Andrić / Miloš Milojević
Nića, the village cop – Branislav Stankov / Nikola Basta
Grannies, girls, peasants, wedding party, ’pumpkiners’
Extras: Vladislav Šeguljev, David Vještica

Concept of set and costume design: Vladana Likar Smiljanić
Set design, set production: Vladimir Savić
Assistant set designer: Nadica Danilovac
Costume designer, costume production: Senka Ranosavljević
Light designer: Marko Radanović
Stage movement: Ivan Klemenc
Display / titles: Ivan Svirčević
Projection: Djordje Vernački, Srdjan Milovanović
Sound technician: Dušan Jovanović

Assistant director: Katarina Mateović Tasić
Assitant conductor: Vesna Kesić Krsmanović
Musical assistants: Danijela Hodoba Leš, Marina Rajinović-Babović, Milena Milovanović
Stage managers: Tanja Cvijić, Dejan Teodorović és Jaroslava Benka Vlček
Prompters: Aleksandra Majtan, Sanela Mitrović

With: the Orchestra and the Choir of the Serbian National Theatre

The set and costumes were produced at the Serbian National Theatre.

Comic opera in two acts
Performed in Serbian
With Hungarian supertitles
Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins plus one intermission


Performed by the Serbian National Theatre, this opera bouffe is reminiscent of the golden age of Serbian comedy. The story about the petty bickering among the household members of the two village priests (Friar Cira and Friar Spira) covers everything from love, strife and gossip, and features unexpected turns, folk tale elements and a happy conclusion. Populated by thrilling characters, the cosy and self-contained microcosm of the play sets the stage for ridiculing stereotypical thinking, commonplaces and prejudice.

The two protagonists of the play, the two Orthodox priests live merrily in a prosperous village, whose inhabitants are so well off that they can afford not only one, but two (!) priests. Seasoned with the joys of life and the occasional drinking, their days go by smoothly, undisturbed even by the squabbling of their wives. One day, however, a young teacher arrives in the village, and the peace is quickly shattered as the priests start vying for his attention, both trying to win him over as a husband for their daughter.

This story of the quarrelsome, yet lively village priests was based on an anecdote about a quarrel between the friars’ wives and a fight between the two friars over a son-in-law. Rumor has it that it was told to writer Stevan Sremac by his uncle Jovan Djordjevic, the first General Manager of the Serbian National Theatre.

Sremac, who put the original story on paper 120 years ago was born in Senta and considered one of the best truly humorous Serbian writers. He doggedly opposed the idea of adapting his story to any other form. No wonder, then, that the first – and still wildly popular – colour feature film made in the former Yugoslavia sixty years ago came as an adaptation of his novel, which has been adapted to stage and screen several times since then. Staged by the the Serbian National Theatre, this is the first time that the story of Cira and Spira is told as an opera.


(tenor, Romania/France) / FRIAR ĆIRA

The Romanian-born tenor debuted as Ottavio in Don Giovanni staged by the National Romanian Opera in Cluj-Napoca ten years ago. Later, as a member of the troupe of the Brasov Opera, he impersonated Alrecchino (I Pagliacci), Lord Arturo Bucklaw (Lucia di Lammermoor), Lord Eduard Zedlau (Wiener Blut) and Alfredo (La Traviata). In the last seasons, his repertoire was expanded with the roles of Tamino (Lille, Marseille, Jersey), Nemorino (Paris), Don José (Toulouse, Lyon, Besançon Festival) and Romeo (Montmorillon Festival). Recently, he sang in the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni in the National Theatre of Algiers, and Rodolfo in La bohème, together with the Beer Sheva Szinfonietta, in Israel. In 2018, in addition to the lead role in The Merry Friars of Banat, he played Parpignol in La bohème staged by the Bastille Opera and will be Don José in Carmen in Lens Festival and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly in 2019 season of Clermont-Ferrand Opera House.

3 July 2018, 7.30 P.M. – MuTh (Vienna, Austria)

Gergely Vajda:


(puppet opera)

By Kolibri Theatre (Budapest, Hungary)
Director: Novák János
Conductor: Vajda Gergely
With: Gergely Ittzés (flute), Erzsébet Seleljo (saxophone), Balázs Szalóky (trumpet), Mónika Baja (keyboard), Helga Kiss (percussions), Zsolt Deli (accordion), Bálint Kruppa (violin), János Fejérvári (viola), Antonio Casagrande (bass)



A two act puppet-opera in Hungarian with German and English supertitles
Libretto: Gregory Vajda and Péter Horváth based on Tibor Déry’s play of the same name
Director: János Novák
Conductor: Gergely Vajda
The Newborn / 2nd Newborn: György Philipp
Mother / Virgin / Stefania: Agathe De Courcy – COMPETITION ROLE
Father: Ákos Ambrus
Nikodemos: József Csapó

Roles of singers-puppeteers (voice actors):
Rita Alexics
Dániel Fehér
Kármen Rácz
Kriszta Rácz
Szabolcs Ruszina
Károly Szívós
Bea Tisza
Ági Török

Gergely Ittzés (flute), Erzsébet Seleljo (saxophone), Balázs Szalóky (trumpet), Mónika Baja (keyboard), Helga Kiss (percussions), Zsolt Deli (accordion), Bálint Kruppa (violin), János Fejérvári (viola), Antonio Casagrande (bass)

Coreographer: János Lakatos
Scenist: István Farkas
Set, costume, puppets: Klaudia Orosz
Assistant director: Veronika Vajdai


A woman in labor is dying. The Giant Baby is born. The mother does not survive. The newborn is a hermaphrodite. Strong, smart and gigantic. The minute it arrives to the world it starts moving, thinking and speaking. And to top it all, it is very hungry.
The Giant Baby’s father is bankrupt, he cannot provide for the baby so he sells it to Nikodemos, the vice president of the Ethics, Race-, and Soul- Development Ltd. His aim is to turn the child into a model citizen.
Hermaphroditos gets acquainted with familial love, the dedication to one’s vocation, and romantic love. It is insatiable, an not too keen on the bourgeois future that is on offer.
It truly believes that it is invincible and can do anything. Shortly before dying of this misunderstanding he gets married and has an offspring – the Next Giant Baby. His life comes full circle but still, it continues even if it is as ’hopeless as a Chinese toe’.

Gergely Vajda’s opera, based on Tibor Déry’s 1926 tongue-in-cheek, avant-garde play of the same name is intended for the younger generation. It is a curious coming of age story of a man, or more like a teenage boy.
The questions The Giant Baby is dealing with are the ones we are first posing as teenagers.
What is the meaning of life? Why is the whole world against us? Is the WOMAN an indecipherable mystery? What is affection? What is love? What is money, society, patriotism and what are obligations?
The presentation’s atmosphere is recalling a typical Punch and Judy puppet show. The melodies – as the original play – are adventurous and direct, sometimes dramatic, sometimes ironic – ready to make us laugh and cry.
The Giant Baby, a true 21st century opera is about our present times, dedicated to each and every one of us.


(mezzo-soprano, France) – MOTHER / VIRGIN / STEFANIA

The remarkably versatile mezzo-soprano studied music in Boulogne and Orléans, while earning a degree in history and cultural mediation at the Sorbonne. Since 2007, she has worked at the France Musique radio. In 2012, she created educational recordings for the musical pedagogy programme of the French National Orchestra. Later that year, she joined the PAPRIKA Collective, whose plays are mostly staged in the Théâtre du Châtelet. In 2015, she quit the radio to sing the leading role of Curlew River (Britten) staged by the Melbourne Opera Studio in Australia. On returning home, she joined the Fabrique Lyrique de Bourges and, together with Carre-Lecoindre, she founded her own artistic ensemble, Lemon Fracas. She continues to capitalize on her singing and acting talent in a spectacularly wide variety of classical and contemporary operas and musicals as well as her own progressive projects.

4 July 2018, 7.30 P.M.- MuTh (Vienna, Austria)

Péter Eötvös:


Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music
Director: András Almási-Tóth
Conductor: Gergely Vajda
With: Pannon Philharmonic, Armel Opera Festival’s resident orchestra




Opera in one act
In English with German and Hungarian subtitles

The Hungarian premiere of the presentation was staged by the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music for the Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival in 2014.

Libretto: Mária Mezei after Lady Sarashina’s 11th century diary (English text: Ivan Morris)

Director / set design: András Almási-Tóth
Conductor: Gergely Vajda

Imai Ayane
Yoshida Makiko
Andreea Meláth
Máté Fülep
(baritone, Hungary) – COMPETITION ROLE

Costume design: Krisztina Lisztopád, Richárd Márton
Choreography: Eszter Lázár
Musical assistant: Szabolcs Sándor
With: Pannon Philharmonic, Armel Opera Festival’s founding partner and resident orchestra


“As I see it, everything that is audible is a part of the musical world, including speech, the sound of instruments and all the surrounding rumble and noise. It is the musician’s duty to mold it into shape.”

Eötvös is the busiest opera writer of our age. Since the beginnings, he has been experimenting with the possibilities of combining human voice and composed music. As a rule, his delicate and ethereal operas tell a story about the fate of women, influenced by supernatural and transcendental forces.
After staging the Three Sisters, an internationally highly acclaimed play that was adapted several times and was staged more than 150 times, Eötvös used the story of Lady Sarashina to write the theatrical radio drama As I Crossed the Bridge of Dreams, which he turned into an opera at the request of the Lyon Opera House in 2007. The libretto was written by his fellow author, Mari Mezei, based on an English translation by Ivan Morris. The play is a unique combination of theatre and music, contributing to the fact that, to this day, this is the piece that the composer feels closest to his own character.
Lady Sarashina is based on an 11th century diary written by a Japanese noble women. Little do we get to know about her everyday life from her texts, as they lead us mostly into her internal world of fantasy where her dreams, memories and desires play the most important role and the events of the past bear special significance regarding the future.
In Eötvös’s captivating orchestration, the mysterious vagueness of dreams are conveyed by the transcendent, expressive tones of solo instruments and singers. Dominated by whispers, whooshing sounds and blurred voices, the nine tableaux of this “talking opera” – Spring; The Guardian; Pilgrimage; Dream about the Cat/Requiem; Moon; Dream in a Mirror; Dark Night; Remembrance; Fate – introduce us to the intimate world of a Japanese lady who lived a thousand years before.


(baritone, Hungary)

He was born in Miskolc and was the seventh child in a family with eight children. As a child, he used to play the violin. He went on to study solo singing and double bass and he received a degree at the Faculty of Music of the University of Debrecen. He was first cast into an opera role at the Szeged National Theatre, in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, but he has played more and more solo acts in the Csokonai National Theatre as well. In 2009, he received the Fellowship granted by the Republic, while in 2010, he received a scholarship from the Wagner Society. Later on, he studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Upon performing in several oratorios and singing performances in the Netherlands, he played the part of the protagonist of Don Giovanni in the Schouwburg, The Hague, in 2011. In 2013, he qualified in the final round at the 8th Hilde Zadek Singing Competition. One year later, in 2014, he was awarded the Fischer Annie scholarship in the performing arts. At the Hungarian State Opera House, he first played Eustachio in Madmen by Design by Donizetti. Since then, he has performed there in the roles of Papageno, Schaunard, Biberach and Jake as well.

5 July 2018, 7.30 P.M. – Palace of Arts (Budapest, Hungary)

Ben Johnston
Gavin Bryars
Michael Ondaatje:

A two–part paradise lost

By Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse (Lyon, France), Théâtre de la Renaissance (Oullins, France), Muziektheater Transparant (Antwerpen, Belgium)
Director: Jean Lacornerie
Zenei vezető: Gérard Lecointe
With: Les Percussions Claviers de Lyon




Musical theatre in two parts.
Performed in French and English with Hungarian subtitles.
Duration: 105 mins
Performances will also include elements of the French translation by
Michel Lederer published by Editions de L’Olivier.

Calamity Jane to Her Daughter
Music: Ben Johnston
Text attributed to Jean McCormick

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Music: Gavin Bryars
Text Based on the poems of Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-Handed Poems
French Translator: Michel Lederer
Commissioned by Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse and Théâtre de La Renaissance

Director: Jean Lacornerie
Musical director: Gérard Lecointe

Jane (The Collected Works of Billy the Kid) – Sarah Defrise (szoprán / Belgium) – VERSENYSZEREP
Jane (Calamity Jane to Her Daughter) – Claron McFadden
Billy – Bertrand Belin

Set designer: Marc Lainé, Stephan Zimmerli
Costume designer: Mariona Benages
Make-up / mask: Anne Leray
Choreographer: Raphaël Cottin
Lighting designer: David Debrinay
Images: Stephan Zimmerli

Les Percussions Claviers de Lyon:
Gérard Lecointe (vibraphone), Gilles Dumoulin (marimba), Jérémy Daillet (marimba), Sylvie Aubelle (marimba bass), Raphaël Aggery (keyboards) and Lyonel Schmit (violin)

Percussions Claviers de Lyon (France), Maison de la Culture de Bourges (France), Concertgebouw Brugge (Belgium), Operadagen Rotterdam (Netherlands), Mahogany Opera Group (UK)


There is a touching story behind the fate of gunslingers and outlaws Calamity Jane and Billy, the Kid, deeply characteristic of the human condition. This one of a kind French musical theatre coproduction takes us back to the American Old West, whose heroes may be long gone, but their legacy lives on to intrigue our imagination.

Still, CALAMITY/BILLY’s soundscape could not be further removed from the musical aesthetics of Western movies. Its meditative universe unfolds slowly and gradually from the delicate gestures, passionate scenes and story fragments presented in the shimmering lamplight, as the audience is overcome with nostalgia for a bygone world of freedom.

CALAMITY/BILLY is unique piece including two parts, with from two different composers.
The letters in Calamity Jane to Her Daughter are presented in soprano, with music by one of the foremost composers of microtonal music, Ben Johnston. His style is contemporary and nostalgic at the same time, with the violin, the old bar piano, the drums and the strange quarter-tones giving his notes the same sepia nuance that the blurry old photographs of Martha Canary (Jane’s real name) have. The atmosphere of the play, lasting no more than twenty minutes, is emphatically reasserted in the second part, composed by post-minimalist Gavin Bryars.
This part presents the story of Billy the Kid based on the adaptation of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-Handed Poems, a verse novel by Michael Ondaatje, the famous writer of The English Patient.
Full of hymns to freedom and screeching visions, the Kid poems seem as if they were always meant to be sung. Bryars, the composer commissioned to write the music masterfully exploits the full tonal depth of the human voice in this extraordinary piece, specifically written for the blending of a soprano voice, blues songs and the music of the creative keyboard percussionists behind Percussions Claviers de Lyon.


(soprano, Belgium) / JANE

The young Belgian soprano was a student of Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels and Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. Her artistic debut came at the age of 24 in the role of Clorinda in Rossini’s Cinderella, staged in the Royal Opera of Wallonia. In the 2016/17 season, as the partner of José Van Dam, she played Diana in Offenbach’s Orpheus, Musetta in La bohème and Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. She won awards and mentions in several competitions and was named as the Young Discovery of the Gent Festival in 2017.
In 2018, in addition to Jane, he played Le Fou in The Stolen Letter by Denis Bosse in the Balsamine Theatre of Brussels.