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Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) – Dutch National Opera

 

 

As one of the highlights of the Holland Festival, renowned director Stefan Herheim staged Tchaikovsky’s much-loved opera about a young man who, for the prospect of earthly wealth, gambles away his chance for love and happiness.

The protagonist Hermann stakes everything on gambling, in the belief that there has to be a secret formula that will prevent him from losing at cards. He wants to draw the secret from his girlfriend Lisa’s grandmother, the old Countess: How is it that she is such a successful gambler? Herman confronts her and forces her to reveal her secret, menacing her with a revolver. The Countess dies from the shock. It is her ghost that later appears before the young officer and gives away the fatal sequence of cards: three, seven, ace. Having lost everything, Hermann commits suicide, thus becoming the third victim of his own compulsive gambling behavior – after the old Countess, who was supposed to know the secret, and Lisa, who was in love with him. The score of Pique Dame was written by Tchaikovsky within only 44 days, in a period of turmoil about himself and his homosexuality. Herheim, whose stagings are famous for their multi-layered levels of interpretation, attempts to reflect on the composer’s hidden love for men.

Former Music Director Mariss Jansons returns to Amsterdam to conduct Pique Dame at the Dutch National Opera with “his” Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He encounters a noteworthy cast, including star tenor Misha Didyk, a sought after interpreter of the Russian repertoire, who is making his Amsterdam debut in the role of Herman. The critics agree about the production’s quality: “A Pique Dame of extraordinary musical and scenic power” (Avant-Scène Opéra), which it is “absolutely worth seeing!” (Die Welt).

Pannonia Entertainment distributes this stunning opera to cinemas across Hungary and Germany.

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Khovanshchina – Munich

 

One of the great talents of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was his unique ability to transpose words, psychological states and even physical movements into music. Although he left his opera “Khovanshchina” (The Khovansky Affair) incomplete and unorchestrated, the sheer theatricality of its musical text reveals the presence of a work that begs for a stage production. The first completion and orchestration was made by Mussorgsky’s contemporary Rimsky-Korsakov, but the more slender, powerful, raw orchestration made by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1960 is the one preferred today, and the version chosen by Kent Nagano for the Munich production recorded here.

The plot is a darkly shimmering panorama of ruthless power plays, intrigues and bloodshed in late 17th-century Russia. A nation torn by inner strife, with various factions struggling for power at court: the followers of Prince Ivan Khovansky, the leader of the Streltsys (musketeers), and those of Prince Golitsin, faithful to the tsar. Add to this the influence of various religious groups, and the action comes frighteningly close to mirroring the present-day situation in more than one country. With his stripped-down sets and historicizing costumes, director Dmitri Tcherniakov, one of the new voices of contemporary Russian theater, throws a bridge to the political present. The historical pessimism of the opera, says Tcherniakov, “is legitimated by Russian history and Russian life. Basically, nothing has changed.”

Kent Nagano superbly masters the challenges presented by this score, shapes the dynamics with subtle intensity, and casts the score in a mellow glow. As Marfa, the spurned lover of Ivan Khovansky’s son Andrey, Doris Soffel unfolds such a rich palette of sonorities, from the pathos of the lower ranges to shaded discant heights, that “one is tempted to speak of a Russian mezzo.” (Eleonore Büning, F.A.Z.)  Anatoly Kotscherga portrays the religious leader Dosifey with fervor and bluster, Klaus Florian Vogt dazzles heroically as Andrey, John Daszak is a technically flawless Golitsin, and bass-baritone Paata Burchuladze gives a charismatic, forceful account of Prince Ivan Khovansky. The final chorus, which Mussorgsky did not compose, is played in the orchestrally transparent version of Igor Stravinsky – the third great Russian composer who contributed to making “Khovantchina” a gripping stage work for all times.

Pannonia Entertainment distributes this stunning opera to cinemas across Hungary and Germany.

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Eugene Onegin – Salzburg Festival

 

Tchaikovsky  is  best  known  for  his  symphonic   scores   and   ballets   such   as   the   “Nutcracker,“   “Swan   Lake”   and   “Sleeping  Beauty.“  Yet  his  operas  also  occupy  a  place  of  honor  in  his  oeuvre,  and  two  of  them,  “Eugene  Onegin”  and  “The  Queen  of  Spades,” both based on novels by Pushkin, are among his very finest works.

The plot of “Onegin” is quickly told: on a Russian country  estate,  awkward,  inexperienced  young  Tatyana  is  seized  by  a  sudden  passion  for  the handsome, blasé new neighbor Eugene Onegin.  She  writes  him  a  love  letter,  but  he  makes  it  clear  to  her  that  he  is  not  interested.  Later,  Tatyana‘s  sister  flirts  with
Onegin, her fiancé challenges him to a duel and is killed by Onegin. Years later, Onegin returns, finds that Tatyana has married an aged  prince,  and  tries  to  win  her  back  but  fails.

The  true  hero  of  the  opera  is  Tatyana,   a   multi-layered,   conflicted,   driven,   doubt-ridden  heroine.  As  portrayed  by  the  dazzling  Russian  soprano  Anna  Samuil,  this  Tatyana “is ready to start a revolution.” (Julia Spinola, F.A.Z.) Since her 2003 debut in the West, and her appearance as Musetta (“La Bohème”) at the Met alongside Anna Netrebko, Anna Samuil – a protegée of Daniel Barenboim – has been acclaimed as a vibrant new voice on  the  operatic  stage.  Daniel  Barenboim  and  the  Vienna  Philharmonic  accompany  these  “scenes of a marriage that could have been” with beguilingly dark sonorities that allow for brilliant flashes of light from the winds and waves of passionate lyricism in the third act.

Recorded  at  the  Salzburg  Festival,  this  production  of  Tchaikovsky’s  Eugene  Onegin  features an excellent, young cast headed by Peter Mattei as the titular playboy, and the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by maestro Daniel Barenboim. This intimate production mines the depths of expression and charisma inherent in the drama.

Pannonia Entertainment distributes this stunning opera to cinemas across Hungary and Germany.

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Gemenc – The Wild Danube

 

nature documentary, Hungary, 2017 (6)
directed by Frigyes Olma

Running time: 60 Min

The landscape of Gemenc, the largest floodplain woods of Central Europe, is living and developing together with its waters. The river Danube defines the life of the drainage area’s flora and fauna, either by protecting or threatening, building or vanishing the scenery. The forest and the river provide an outstanding habitat for their residents, families of deers, boars, eagles, jackals, beavers, cranes and kingfishers of the Gemenc floodplain woods, including one of the area’s greatest population of the protected black storks. This stunning nature documentary – released with the support of WWF Hungary –  gives us insight into their lives. The film is a result of five years’ stringent and tenacious work: special disguised wildlife monitoring cameras, underwater or drone cameras were used to capture the wildlife of the drainage area including precious and previously unseen images of black storks nesting and raising up their squealers, or dramatic recordings of the big flood of the Danube in 2013. Besides the area’s wildlife, the documentary puts great emphasis on the presentation of the floodplain woods’ unique atmosphere as well, by capturing dawning landscapes and by numerous mid-air shots made with drones, while playing the evergreen melodies of Strauss, Vivaldi, Verdi, Puccini, Mahler and Bartók in the background.

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Alexander Ekman’s A Swan Lake

 

a-swan-lakeA Swan Lake, a new surreal re-telling of the classical ballet from the Norwegian Ballet and award winning commissioned choreographer Alexander Ekman. A dance & multi-genre show that transcends the boundaries between dance, musical, comedy, opera… Alexander Ekman’s new vision on the classical tale with a modern twist on the music by Tchaikovsky done by Mikael Karlsson, made possible by the norwegian ballet. This show is so espectacular that may leave the audience in shock as more than 6.000 litres of water flood the stage while the dancers interact.

Available from 18 February 2016, Pannonia Entertainment distributes this unique ballet performance to cinemas across Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, Norwey, Sweeden, Germany, France, Switzerland and UK.

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The Golden Jackal (The Kunság – The Secret Life of the Hungarian Puszta)

 

VadKunsag_fotok05In the middle of the Carpathian Basin, lying between the Tisza and the Danube, the landscape is like any other plain in Europe. It was once shaped by winds and rivers, today it bears traces of human activities. However, the Great Hungarian Plain is different. It has a secret life, where something interesting happens all the time…

Pannonia Entertainment distributes  this award winning Hungarian nature documentary to cinemas across Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithouania, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweeden and China.

Available from 24th of March 2016 on DCP.

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Hungaricums – Hungarian Short Documentary Series (COMING SOON)

 

EXTRAORDINARY WORLD OF NICOLAS SCHÖFFER

olasz_magyar_10_schofferDocumentary film (English version, 25’)

A defining trend of the 60s was people`s optimistic faith in human intellectual energies, an unprecedented collaboration of scientific and artistic groups. Nicolas Schöffer, being one of best known artists of the era had a tremendous influence on future trends and is regarded as founder of cybernetic art.
“The task of an artist today is not the creation of art, but to enable the process of creation.”  – Nicolas Schöffer

Directed by Sándor Gerebics
Director of Photography Zsolt Nagy ’Big’
Narrated by Richard Rifkin

SOUND BEYOND TIME

olasz_magyar_10_boganyiDocumentary film (English version, 4K, 25’)
“We are dreaming up a sound. We have a certain idea. What a musician hears inside is always more beautiful than what he ends up emitting. At the same time, one should do it. This was the main train of thought behind the inspiration. It wasn’t the only one, however.” – Gergely Bogányi

GIVE ME A BIRO!

eec8010e180204bdda71f71c309be2a4Documentary film (English version,  25’)

“I used to read medicine, I used to racing cars, I was a graphologist, I did research in biology, I was an insurance clerk, I was in cargo shipping, I was an artist painter, and I was a journalist, a book publisher, a sculptor and an inventor. To be truthful, my profession is not to have a specific field of expertise”, Bíró wrote of himself. His most significant invention, the ballpoint pen was related to his career as a journalist.

Directed by Sándor Gerebics
Director of Photography: György Geo Tóth
Music by Béla Szakcsi Lakatos

Pannonia Entertainment will distribute these stunning documentaries to cinemas across Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithouania, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweeden and China.