Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2013

opera

It is a prominent spot on any tourist’s itinerary, and a much loved piece of the Budapest cityscape. What’s more, it is actually a historical site that is used continually throughout the year, hosting one of the most prestigious opera companies in the world. We are, of course, talking about the Budapest Opera House, also known by its more formal title, the Hungarian State Opera House.

Commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph when Hungary was still part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire, the construction took 10 years to complete and opened in 1884: it was then called the Hungarian Royal Grand Opera. The emperor’s involvement probably accounts for the royal stairway, which is off to the side, by the still-existing ramp for horse-drawn carriages. The architect, Miklós Ybl (also responsible for the St. Stephen’s Basilica), planned the Opera House in neo-Renaissance style, in line with the prevailing taste of the age. The first director was Ferenc Erkel, composer of the Hungarian National Anthem. His position was later filled by an up-and-coming young composer named Gustav Mahler.

opera2

The interior was designed to produce acoustics suitable for world-class singers. Indeed, in a recent study by a group of sound engineers, the Budapest Opera House was determined to have the third best acoustics in all of Europe, following Paris and Milan.

The decoration of  the Opera is a sumptuous affair. Over 7 kg of gold went into the gilded interior, which is adorned with over a hundred statues and paintings. Frescos and mosaics greet the opera-goer in the ornate, luxurious grand front hall.  But this is not just a luxury for the rich. It was designed with the people in mind, and is still affordable these days: about ten dollars will get you a ticket, though you can spend much less if you want to sit in the upper balcony.

Opera4

The Opera House was renovated in the late 1990s, and it shines with the splendor of a polished jewel.

opera5

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Last week the New York Times listed a few of the restaurants in Budapest which represented the best of what is new on the local culinary scene. Being the New York Times, they didn’t go with a local writer, but instead imported a reporter to ‘break’ the story. But if you live here, you know there is a lot more going on than Bock Bisztró. Here – as an exclusive! – we have three restaurants that are new and exciting, and are good enough for any list of great Budapest restaurants.

BudRestTigris: Named for the Tigris Hotel, the luxury hotel once housed in this historic 1840s building, the Tigris is a tiger on the culinary scene. This acclaimed fine-dining restaurant has, over the four years that it has been open, built up a reputation at one of the best places to go for goose liver. Americans will remember goose liver – foie gras  – as that velvety, rich delicacy they used to be able to enjoy (now banned in many major cities, or priced beyond the reach of most budgets). At Tigris there is an entire section of the menu dedicated to goose-liver creations. You can eat it in a cold mousse, with bitter chocolate and plumb, you can have it roasted with fennel and figs, or simply potted with goose fat. For the rest of the eclectic menu, look here.

RestBudFishBigfish Restaurant: Instead of treating fish like some strange exotic creature to be handled with velvet gloves and served on a silver platter, Bigfish makes a case that fish should be integral to people’s diet. With this in mind, their entire stock is on display, in the front and center of the restaurant. Fresh seafood that varies daily, from oysters to tuna, mackerel, and salmon, assorted shrimps and even live lobsters are on ice for the choosing. Just pick what you like and the server will weigh it, then send it back to the kitchen. It will emerge later, expertly cooked, with a little melted garlic butter on top. Reasonably priced, unpretentious, and deliciously fresh, this young restaurant is packed at all hours.

budrestborBor Konyha: Many local foodies consider this their top choice for an evening out. The ‘Wine Kitchen’ serves high-end fare in a friendly, small but comfortable room. Like many restaurants in Budapest these days, they serve Hungarian, but using international cooking techniques with traditional ingredients and fare. The owner has great connections in the Hungarian wine industry, and is able to get hard-to-find bottles from small vineyards. The waiters are pros at pairing the wine and food, and can be relied upon for great recommendations. Plus, the food is on par with the best restaurants in the city. Have a look at their site here.

BudRestBor2

So we advise you to look beyond the obvious stars of the culinary scene. In terms of inventive yet traditional fare, there is a lot more to Budapest than one mere article might suggest.

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

Read Full Post »

FelixLajkoEverybody knows the legend about the boy whom the devil challenged to a violin playing duel: if the boy won he got a violin made of gold, if the devil won the boy’s soul would belong to him. Félix Lajkó must be a direct descendant of that legendary boy, for he has surely inherited a divine talent at violin. Anybody who has seen Lajkó in concert knows he plays like he is a man possessed, and his skill is peerless.

Lajkó is at the forefront of Hungarian musicians who are bringing regional folk, Romani, Pannonian, and Balkan music to the world’s attention. Born in in 1974 in Vojvodina (once part of Hungary, then former Yugoslavia, now northern Serbia) to Hungarian parents, Lajkó is a Hungarian speaker with an internationally musical dialect. Teaming up with a Japanese dancer doesn’t sound like the most likely pairing, but that’s what Lajkó did with Min Tanaka, and in doing so, has gained enough admiration in that country to have a Japanese fan club. In France he has collaborated with the band Noir Desir. Also, closer to home,  has accompanied the increasingly popular (in America at least) Boban Markovics Band.

Lajkó’s first instrument was the zither, but he soon switched to the violin, completing all six years of music school training in only three years. From there he set out to make a living playing live. He has since gained a reputation as an electrifying player though he is also sought after as a composer of film and dance scores. Felix’s forays into film have found him both composing film scores (14 to date) and playing in front of the camera as himself and in fictional roles. Grandfather of Hungarian experimental film Miklós Jancsó recorded Felix in his documentary, Play Félix! and he was cast in the lead role in the film Delta, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

“My music is based on the delicacy and colorfulness of my instrument. I do not play any new types of musical genre, I only follow my own path and improvise and write music. I cannot see differences between musical styles and ways, so I play folk-, classical-, rock-, blues-, jazz-, and improvisational music,” says Felix on his site. But there are no words that convey the true musical talent of a violin player like Félix Lajkó. To really understand, you have to watch, and more importantly, listen.

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

Read Full Post »

Fashion-Design-Market-of-WAMP-Budapest-Trade-Fair-Hungary

When you think of cutting-edge design, Budapest isn’t always the first city that comes to mind. But for the last six years, the creators of WAMP have been trying to change that. At least twice a month, WAMP holds ‘design fairs’ in conspicuous locations around Budapest where local designers and visual artists can show and sell their wares. At the WAMP Sunday fairs, you can meet the best young designers and familiarize yourself with international and local design trends, just by window-shopping. Clothing, home décor, and crafts, all created by up-and-coming designers, are on display at the fairs.

WAMP was founded and is run by a team of women whose university degrees and interests range from economics to fashion to art. Though WAMP is a local creation, it also has a distinctly international flavor, as many of its administrators have studied and worked abroad. With that in mind, it is not surprising that WAMP has also served as a launch pad for designers from around Europe who want to break into the Hungarian market. In choosing their permanent space near the highly touristed Vaci Utca, it is obvious that WAMP has their sights set on appealing to locals and foreigners alike.

WAMP2

Like every great idea that is backed up with solid planning, WAMP is expanding, now offering ‘WAMP Spájz’ a gastro-market for culinary enthusiasts in Budapest. This is a very rare venue to sample the creations from the kitchens of artisanal food-makers that are springing up across the country. Ever tried paprika chutney? Camembert and plum ice-cream? Now is your chance. In addition to Spájz, WAMP has also spun off into WAMP Vintage, and WAMP Art, which will focus, respectively, on past trends, and local visual artists.

WAMP3

WAMP’s (the acronym comes from Wasárnapi Művész Piac (Sunday Art Market)), mission is to “promote dialogue between the public and designers, designers and companies and designers and designers.” So stop by and engage in the dialog. Or just pick up a cupcake, everybody loves cupcakes.

wamp3

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

Read Full Post »