Growing out of Budapest’s most influential music store and publisher with roots from the 19th century, and scraping through the cultural and political storms of the 20th, Rózsavölgyi Szalon Arts & Café has again become a hub for city intellectuals with a strong cultural thirst. Artistic Director Zsófia Zimányi tells the Budapest Business Journal how it stays devoted to the highest quality.
BBJ: What are you looking forward to most in the new season?
Zsófia Zimányi: I cannot wait to see our play “Diplomacy” on October 30, since it works up one of the most mysterious stories of the 20th century. Taking place in Paris in 1944, a dozen German soldiers, who have set explosives across the entire city from the Sacré-Coeur to the Invalides, are facing the 30,000-strong army of the Allies. No one knows how or at what cost, but a Swedish diplomat finally manages to convince the German commander over the course of a single night not to destroy Paris. For me, this story is about what we can do against oppression and how much can depend on one single person. Then, on New Year’s Eve, when we usually come up with something lighter, we play the “Amazons Three Years Later”, which is the sequel of our three-year-old play the “Amazons” and carries on with the story of three young women searching for partners. It will be a night rich in humor and irony. And there is a third play very much worth being highlighted, something I have read recently and am eager to see on stage. “What We’re Up Against” (Amiért meg kell küzdeni) is written by an American female writer and is about a woman who starts working at a cool and edgy architectural studio in New York with three male colleague and one other woman. Very soon she has to accept that the men around her take precedence in several aspects: her ideas are either decried or stolen. On top of that, she cannot find support even from the other woman. So this play digs very deep into the dynamics of human relationships and is also interesting since America is often thought to be the symbol of equality, while here we see the complete opposite.
BBJ: Choosing plays about very current or socially hot topics seems to be a strong principle when putting your program together.
ZsZ: Of course. We aim to stage productions that deal with problems interesting for our audience. And people are interested in the world surrounding them; this is what they can connect with.
BBJ: And what about your music lineup?
ZsZ: Sometimes we organize events to introduce music records but only quite occasionally. Great venues have been created for this purpose in the past decades – think about MÜPA or the Academy of Music – and we believe that it is better not to run in a competition where you cannot be the best.
BBJ: Looking beyond this very season, what are your long-term plans?
ZsZ: This is our seventh season and we see that we could fulfill our initial aim, which was to become an exciting, culturally and intellectually inspiring meeting point in the city. This is what we would like to keep strengthening in the future too.