Preparations running full blast for “Stephen, the King” rock opera, Szeklerland version

New characters of the rock opera were introduced to the media by the organizers. Because of the pandemic regulations, journalists were welcomed in small groups, and performers presented their songs with orchestral accompaniment.

The most popular Hungarian rock opera “Stephen, the King” (István, a király in Hungarian) is going to be staged in Szeklerland with all Transylvanian-Hungarian artists in a double or triple cast. An orchestra, led by conductor Gábor Werner, will join the rock band, as well as a choir of 150 members, 60 dancers and other extras.

In the last month, the song and choreography rehearsals have begun with accompanists/coaches Emese Cserkész and Szilágyi Zsolt Herbert and choreographers Attila Bordás and Csaba Tőkés.

All characters are rehearsing at home as well, and actor trainings are being held monthly, where under the supervision of director Călin Orza, songs and scenes are harmonized.

Enikő Szabó, an actor from the Csíki Játékszín theater, was presented in the role of Sarolt. The part of Vecellin will be played by Elek Gergely, a singer at the Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvár and accordion player for the band Tokos. Bernadett Kis-Lukács, a member of the Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvár, will play Gizella, while in the role of Laborc will be Zsombor Rétyi, also from the Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvár. Réka will be played by Ilka Krisztina Ritziu, actor, dancer and member of the Bekecs Folk Dance Theater.

Ilka Krisztina Ritziu

The wives of Koppány will be played by Katinka Páldeák, a singer and member of the Back in Time band; Nóra Fazakas, a ballet teacher and professor of the Géza Vámszer Art Folkschool; Boróka Szélyes, a student at Márton Áron Gymnasium; and Réka Stekbauer-Hanzi, a puppet actor. In the role of Regős, two artists were introduced to the media: Attila Tókos Csongor, violinist and professor at the Kallós Zoltán Folksong School, and Gyula Bálint Szép, violinist at the Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvár and founding member of the Tokos band.

For the Song of the Wives, singer Gergő Baricz will participate; he was already presented a month ago by the organizers. Previously, Lóránd Farkas, from the Hungarian State Theatre of Kolozsvár, was introduced in the role of Stephen/István, and Loránd Váta, from the Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvár, will play Laborc.

According to plans, the rock opera will be played four times in Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe in the Sepsi Arena on August 20, 2021, the State Foundation Day of the Hungarians, when Hungary’s first King, St. Stephen, is commemorated.

“Stephen, the King” is the most popular Hungarian rock opera, with music by Levente Szörényi and lyrics by János Bródy and based on the play written by Miklós Boldizsár, “Ezredforduló.” The musical is based on the life of Saint Stephen of Hungary, coronated on the 25th of December, He was the first king of Hungary and is considered to be the founder of the Hungarian state and one of the most renowned figures in Hungarian history. The opera was first staged in 1983 on an open-air stage in Budapest, a performance that was also made into a 1984 film, directed by Gábor Koltay. The musical became a smash hit and is still extremely popular in Hungary and among Hungarian minorities in the neighboring countries.

Photos: Hunor Kristó-Gothárd 

Author: Blanka Székely