Mefistofele at Hungarian Opera State


by Bianca L. Nica
June 23, 2022



Read more


Rarely performed, Boito’s Mefistofele is an audacious, spectacular opera,  filled with sumptuous choruses, fine arias and duets and yet, needing an audacious, spectacular cast  to do it justice – great choir & orchestra, a marvelous bass voice, a spinto soprano & just… the right tenor -, but also a spectacular staging. Yet, it has never gained the popularity achieved by Gounod’s Faust – who knows why! 

I personally love it & I was thrilled to be able to attend this performance in Budapest. Did  it fulfill every of the previously mentioned requirements? No. Was it a night to remember? Absolutely! 

The thing is not everything makes sense in KOVALIK’s production, in my opinion, and the aesthetics of CSABA ANTAL become at times disturbing for my tastes., starting from the Witches’ Sabbath that is turned into a casino, with slot machines, dancing girls and topless cowboys – all of it ruled, of course, by Mefisto – to the part when  Faust and Helen of Troy were cryogenically frozen in a space-age version of Ancient Greece (!)… Why?

Let’s star from the beginning… In the Prologue, we see Mefistofele makeing his bet with God, saying he can win the soul of Faust. Here, the setting centres around a remarkable construction, a double-helix stairway, dominating the stage. Two angels tussle for supremacy, while 18 brass players – in costume – perform on platforms that rise to dizzying split-stage heights as Mefistofele breaks out of hell to make his entrance. Angels flew. Brass players & chorus filled the stairways.  Later, duing Mefito’s first aria, an angel aids his chaos by shooting one of the townsfolk. Mefisto takes the pistol and shoots the angel. Faust is trying to… conquere Margherita, an innocent girl who plays with dolls. After the Witches’ Sabbath aka casino 2nd act, in the 3rd one Margherita is imprisoned for poisoning her mother and drowning her baby. During her great aria, she writes in blood & rejects Faust’s attempt to rescue her, earning salvation. The space age Ancient Greece, where Mefisto has transported Faust to conquere the heart of Helen of Troy represents the most chaotic moment of the opera – kind of in a good way. And I’ll only mention the acrobats floating in iant bubbles, so you get the idea… In the Epilogue, avision of Margherita hands Faust a Bible & Mefistofele is disturbed Hiding beneath his black long leather jackets, angel sprinkle him with rose petals, while the choir populating the double-helix discard their plastic robes. In this magnificent visual effect, Mefisto has been thrown out of heaven.

Musically it really was a very special evening indeed, despite some ups & downs in the part of the tenor. LÉTAY KISS GABRIELLA has a voice of a wonderful dramatic impact, credible, therefore, in the role of Margherita, unleashed especially in her aria L’altra notte, where her long phrases flowed gracefully.  She doubled as Elena, revealing full & vibrant mezzo depth of her voice.

SUNG KYU PARK, on the other side, managed to overcome the difficult score of Boito, which requires such strong  & secure high notes, but not without notable difficulties. That’s a pity, because his duet with the mezzosoprano, Forma ideal, purissima leading to a trio with Schrott’s Mefistofele results not very homogenous in terms of quality of the performance.

The star of the night was undoubtedly & easily to anticipate ERWIN SCHROTT. He certainly has stage presence for this character and besides that his acting  brings the audience in… not that he needs  to act when singing Mefistofele. The  character suits him as a glove. Towards of the end of the evening  though, it felt like he was pushing the voice 

so much that pitch started to become more approximate & the sound seemed not as beautiful & healthy as it was at the beginning.  The voice is huge in the middle and upper register, so there would be no reason for him to push it, even though the low register seems sometimes not to be enough for this heavy repertoire. Anyhow, he  impressed with both of Mefistofele’s great arias – Son lo spirito che nega & Ecco il mondo. 

The cast was well completed by  ANNA CSENGE FÜRJES (Marta & Pantalis) & GERGELY  BONCSÉR (Wagner & Nereo). It was a pleasure to notice the high quality of the choir & the orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera in Budaptest, well-conducted by ANTONELLO ALLEMANDI. The chorus was outstanding,  offering a huge sound.

Therefore, presence of Schrott in the title role, an exiting production, with its better & worse parts, good singing in general, orchestral playing & conducting really brought the work to life in a warm April night,  in the recently inaugurated Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest, whose story you must have already  read in the previous pages of this OPERA Charm Magazine issue, in a charming article by CRISTINA FIERARU. 

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur