The guided tours at the Budapest Opera are available in several major languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish), plus Japanese on Mon and Sat. The opera tours take about 45 minutes.
The tours are highly praised by tourists with the only remark that sometimes it is hard to follow your own Opera House tour guide as the other tour guides in different languages are simultaneously speaking to other tourists – imagine having 3-4 classes in the same classroom. Of course, the Opera House in Budapest is a lot more spacious, so the different tourist groups of the Opera tour can find their own spots but you can expect to have some interference.
More info about Opera guided tours on the official website of the Hungarian State Opera House: opera visits
MP3 – Opera Tour, Budapest
Here is an mp3 snippet of the English tour of the Budapest Opera House (which can be downloaded with some online mp3 downloader for self guidance purposes). From the mp3 tour guide, you can learn interesting facts about the Opera (e.g. that building the Opera House cost an awful lot of money, 3,300,000 golden crowns, or that luckily the opera house was not much destroyed in WW2, which is really a surprise, or that the paintings in the vestibule depict the nine muses). You will also hear about the founding father of the Hungarian national opera, Ferenc Erkel (who was also the composer of the Hungarian Anthem, called ‘Himnusz’ and the first conductor of the Opera House (his bust is at the Main Staircase). His outstanding operas were historical and national, like ‘Hunyadi’ (Laszlo Hunyadi) or Bank Ban about the assassination of Queen Gertrúd, wife of Andrew II. Bank Ban is obviously not about banning banks, but means the name of a Hungarian nobleman – Bank is ‘Bánk’ in Hungarian, say ‘barnk’ while ‘bán’ (baan) means viceroy).
Note: not all daily opera tours are held due to the fact that the tourist tours may disturb rehearsals and other events at the Opera House. So before you go, please check via email email@example.com or via phone +36-1-332-8197 if the daily tours are running or not.
Also, if you want to take photos of the Budapest Opera House, you will need to buy a photo ticket (HUF 500) in addition to the guided tour tickets.
If you are interested in one of the best European opera performances, see the current dates in Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, etc.
See more guided tours in Budapest here.
See the Opera House on our Budapest Tourist Map
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Last updated: June, 2012