Veszprem opens Capital of Culture year with show

Veszprem opens Capital of Culture year with show

01/22/2023 10:55 am (act. 01/22/2023 10:55 am)

There was a big party in Veszprem, Hungary

There was a big party in Veszprem, Hungary ©APA/AFP

With a multimedia show under the motto “Shine!” Hungarian Veszprem announced its European Capital of Culture year on Saturday night. Folk dances, modern choreographies, musical interludes and imaginative light installations reflect the history of the city of 60,000 in western Hungary and the lives of its residents.

The sequence of scenes emphasized the central role of the medieval Bavarian duke’s daughter Gisela to Veszprem. As the wife of the king and founder of the empire, Stephen, she was the first queen of Hungary. Stephen forced the Hungarian pagans to adopt Christianity. Numerous priests and scribes who accompanied Gisela to Hungary supported this process.

The queen chose Veszprem as her residence. An eight meter tall puppet represented Gisela in the opening act. With the voice given to her by an actress, the larger-than-life figure guided the audience throughout the program.

The show, which took place simultaneously in three locations in the city, was the idea of ​​the Creative Director of Veszprem 2023, Janos Can Togay. The 67-year-old filmmaker was director of the Hungarian cultural institute Collegium Hungaricum in Berlin from 2008 to 2014.

Veszprem officially presents itself as the European Capital of Culture, together with the region surrounding Lake Balaton. The city is attractive simply because of its location. It stands on five hills, between which the river Sed meanders. The 18th and 19th century city center exudes a cozy feel. The renovation of the imposing castle on the mountain should be largely completed in the year of the Capital of Culture.

So far, Veszprem has managed to position itself nationally with music festivals – from classical to jazz and from choral music to street music. They play a prominent role in the year’s Capital of Culture. A novelty will be the use of the disused Inota thermal power station, near Veszprem. In the summer, the bizarre industrial cemetery will become the stage for an electronic music festival. The Capital of Culture program places additional emphasis on gastronomy and wine. Winegrowers on the mountainous northern shores of Lake Balaton continue to create quality wines.

Romanian Timisoara and Greek Eleusis will also be European Capitals of Culture in 2023. Veszprem topped the opening round on Saturday.