The dramatic entrance to the garden of
the Hungarian National Theatre
by sculptor Miklos Melocco
The new National Theatre along the Danube
first opened its doors on 15 March 2002.
By the time of its completion,
it became a national symbol for cronyism and political meddling in the arts.
Its charter states that
“...in line with tradition,
it will endeavour to honour the exponents of Hungarian
and universal dramatic literature
in the newly-constructed National Theatre,
in a fashion befitting the significance of the institution.”
- well, the building do look weird...
Landscape gardener Péter Török
is the artist who dreamed up the theatre’s exterior surroundings
- the garden and the integral statue park.
These represent a continuation of the National Theatre
into the exterior space:
the theatre does not end at the walls of the building.
Rather, with the help of theatrical history,
not to mention that of architecture and the landscape garden,
the various items of scenery placed in particular points of the park
– even if inside a mound –
all evoke dramatic moments on stage,
and the world of theatre in general.
The statues on the building’s façade
were built to designs by Imre Schrammel.
The statues of the nine muses
above the main entrance are the work of
sculptor Péter Raab Párkányi,
while the fourteen reliefs are by László Marton.
The area in front of the theatre’s main entrance
stretches like a ship into an artificially constructed expanse of water
– water that can interpreted as an extension of the Danube.
The entrance can be reached via a pontoon-bridge,
the equivalent of the ramp with two rails
found in large traditional theatres.
Leaving the building,
we find ourselves in a little viridarium designed
in Renaissance style.
A sycamore allée of subtle proportions runs
between the labyrinth and the ziggurat,
the shade of its foliage circumscribing the buildings with a trellis effect.
As intended by its designers, this unusual area also acts as a public city park.
Don't know what to say...