The idea of the festival came from Péter Müller Sziámi, managing director of the festival from 2000 to 2002 (the director today is conductor Gergely Kesselyák, since 2011). One of the primary missions of the Bartók Plus Opera Festival is to sustain and spread Béla Bartók's legacy. Performing works by the world-famous composer constitutes a stable core of the festival programme, and his stage works – "Bluebeard's Castle", "The Miraculous Mandarin" and "The Wooden Prince" – are regularly performed in traditional and contemporary directorial interpretations by world-famous artists.

# Gergely Kesselyak

The buzzword accompanying Bartók's name, the "Plus" in the festival title, changed annually during the first decade of its existence. In 2001 Verdi, in 2002 Puccini, in 2003 Mozart… In 2010 the programme of Bartók + Europe was intended to give a "snapshot" of European opera playing and European musical life in general. Since 2013 the festival has continued its operations under the name of Bartók Plus Opera Festival with the new slogan "Let opera belong to everyone!"

Ever since the beginnings, the festival has invited world-renowned Hungarian artists as well as international opera stars, and almost all the notable opera groups of Central-Eastern Europe have already visited Miskolc. The festival audience could take part in the Hungarian premieres of several operas.

The four pillars of the conception are the "Key to the Future" Opera Composition Competition, the performances of new operas commissioned by the festival in a cooproduction, Bartók’s works, the popular opera repertoire after Bartók (e.g. Bernstein, Gershwin, Korngold) and finally, large-scale, free opera performances labelled as "Opera of thousands", at various points of the town.

The Finals of Opera Composition Competition was held in December 2018 at the Budapest Music Academy. The professional jury decided that Albin Fries’ opera "Nora" was the winner and it will be performed at the Bartók Plus Opera Festival in Miskolc on 20 June 2019 at 7pm.

Further highlights:
Bluebeard + Béla Bartók: Bluebeard’s Castle | Aleksandr Scriabin: Prometheus: The Poem of Fire, 19 June 2019
Igudesman & Joo – A Little Nightmare Music Show, 21 June 2019

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