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István A Király

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István a Király - Stephen, the King, a Hungarian rock opera first staged in 1983, is about the 11-th century king István’s (Saint Stephen of Hungary’s) rise to power. The music was written by Levente Szörényi and the lyrics by János Bródy. The musical was - and remains yet today - very popular in Hungary, as well as in Transylvania, other neighboring minorities and among Hungarians spread around the world.

People don’t associate Hungary with rock music, less with rock musicals but this is great. Who’ll have trouble finding it though as music promotion is confined to Anglophile and the MTV generation. An impressive musical score by a talented rock composer. There was a Canadian program which was hated by the critics but exposed this kind of obscure European music. The passion comes from the peoples’ desire to overthrow the restrictions of communist dictatorship. But with this freedom comes the need to adapt to the unfamiliar and new demands and responsibilities. This musical examines that problem. The central characters are Koppány, who hangs on to the traditions and István who wants freedom through reforms and combination to an earlier Christian values and morality. Unlike some clumsy commercial musical which would present the conflict as a fight for power, here the enemies have a conscientious intention to ensure the future. You will also get a course in Hungarian history whilst singing along to all the every memorable songs.

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