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Müpa/Csibi Szilvia

CEO Csaba Káel, the CEO of Müpa Budapest, talks exclusively to the Budapest Business Journal about highlights to look out for at this year’s Budapest Spring Festival (where he is also chairman of the executive board), and the trends and traditions of the past four decades.

Káel Csaba

BBJ: Budapest Spring Festival is obviously an important part of the local cultural calendar. What is its international importance?

Csaba Káel: I am proud to say that Budapest Spring Festival has become one of Central Europe’s most important celebrations of the arts during the past almost four decades. It is a highly prestigious event series that brings the best international and Hungarian artists and productions to Budapest, and attracts massive international attention and visitors from all over the world. Actually, the European festival season starts here, followed by Prague and Vienna: tourists – especially from overseas – plan their visits in advance based on the timing of our festival. We are grateful for this interest, and truly believe that we have a huge responsibility as festival organizers: our mission is to show an exciting and outstanding selection of new productions, Hungarian masterpieces and extraordinary international projects day by day during the festival.

BBJ: Müpa Budapest is not just a key location, but the main organizer of Budapest Spring Festival. What are you most looking forward to seeing on your own stage?

Cs.K.: It is not easy to choose, as diversity of art forms is a core value of the festival, just like commitment to quality and innovation, so the program is really colorful this year. The intention to come up with something unique for the opening night inspired us to choose “Khovanshchina”, Mussorgsky’s second and last completed opera, presented in a new form, a reconstruction by musicologist János Bojti, in a version faithful to the composer’s original intentions. It was an amazing success. Connected to the current focus of our festival, we are also thrilled to welcome the superstars of the Russian music scene this year: we are going to have a spectacular closing weekend with maestro Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Orchestra and the concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta” on April 20, while Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” is going the be performed twice by the famous Ballet Company of Mariinsky Theater at Erkel Theater on April 22.

BBJ: What do you think are the most important trends revealed by the festival over the years?

Cs.K.: We are monitoring the most exciting tendencies in the art field, but the combination of preserving our heritage, reflecting on our traditions, while also being opened to new forms of art makes our festival program really special. Just like our vision to create a very unique and complex Budapest-experience for the visitors and locals through the arts. We are aware that we have a powerful expat community with international business leaders here in the city, and we believe that the Budapest Spring Festival, and of course Müpa Budapest, provides them with an extraordinary program selection and real inspiration. The goal is to have more and more “brand ambassadors”: enthusiastic artists and satisfied audience members willing to return to Budapest.

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