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‘Hungarian Rhapsody’: Hungarian State Folk Ensemble keeping country’s traditional music, dances alive

October 24th, 2013 12:54 pm by Entertainment Staff

‘Hungarian Rhapsody’: Hungarian State Folk Ensemble keeping country’s traditional music, dances alive

Since its establishment in 1951, the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble has collected and performed authentic folk music and preserved the folk dances and traditional costumes of its native country by showcasing them on stage.

That tradition will continue Monday, Oct. 28, when the ensemble from Budapest brings its “Hungarian Rhapsody” show to Greeneville’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Curtains up is 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for orchestra and mezzanine seats, and $15 for seats in the balcony.

As a musical genre, the rhapsody is best characterized by its tumultuous rhythms, strong emotion, impassioned surges of thought and freedom of expression. The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” incorporates all the hallmarks of this genre, taking its inspiration from folk music and dance traditions and creating its own unique dance rhapsody.

The performance includes images of the peasant traditions of the Hungarians and other national groups of the country’s surrounding regions in dynamic succession, offering a compelling look into this singular kaleidoscopic, yet oddly unified, thousand-year-old culture as expressed in the acrobatics of the men’s dances, the lyricism of the women’s movements and the virtuosity of couples’ dances.

“Hungarian Rhapsody” is a journey through time, from the present to the past and back again. Though the world from where this music and dance originates has long disappeared, the message it bears is still relevant — that even today, in the midst of homogenized, superficial “global culture,” we still have a culture that is unique and eternal.

The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble has performed in 44 countries across four continents and won the admiration of an audience of more than seven and a half million people.

Its choreographies are all based on authentic dances, some of them collected in isolated villages with dance elements dating back hundreds of years.

The extraordinary folk music that inspired Hungarian and international classical composers such as Liszt, Brahms, Kodály and Bartók is performed live on stage by both the Folk Orchestra and the world-famous Gipsy Orchestra. The members of the Folk Orchestra play authentic, traditional instruments and perform Hungarian folk music, while the Gipsy Orchestra plays both dance accompaniments and performs alone.

Aside from its performances around the country and abroad, the ensemble gives approximately 90 to 100 performances annually in its Corvin tér theatre, in the Budai Vigadó.

For tickets or more information, call the NPAC box office at (423) 638-1679 or visit

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