During the 1884 inauguration of the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest, political elites staged a gala concert in the auditorium while the angry crowd, excluded from this ceremony, demonstrated on the street. In 1917, the crowds queuing to a Béla Bartók premiere needed to be forcibly held back. The book follows the history of the contested institution through a series of scandals, public protests, repertoire controversies and their representation in the urban press of the time. Such conflicts often led to larger issues that concerned the Opera House as a music institution, the birth of the modern public sphere and the modern audience. Thereby, the book calls for a critical rethinking of the cultural history of Budapest and Hungary in the late Habsburg Monarchy.
Markian Prokopovych, a CEU Alumnus, is a cultural and urban historian of Eastern and Central Europe working mostly on the “long nineteenth century” with a recent interest in migration, history of science and the twentieth century. He has worked and taught in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Austria and is on the board of a number of international associations for urban historians, European university networks and historical journals. He is also the author of Habsburg Lemberg: Architecture, Public Space and Politics in the Galician Capital, 1772-1914 (Purdue University Press, 2009).
Book Launch : November 27, 2014 – 17:30 – 19:30 – CEU, Nador u. 9, Monument Building – présenté par Constantin Iordachi, discutant: Mary Gluck.