What did Singing Youth sing in the 1950s and what do they sing today? What messages are conveyed through their songs from positions of power? What ideas are embodied by the works of art commissioned and put on display in public space? Which artists are frequent performers at political party events? What do the favourite bands of the regime sing about? Do you sing along?
Makris Agamemnon’s statue, Singing Youth was erected at the passage leading to the People’s Stadium in 1953 and it has been standing there until this day along with other statues, surviving the regime change, when many artworks made in the socialist era were removed from public space. The stadium was torn down and a new one, the Puskás Arena was built, re-using crushed concrete from its predecessor. Singing Youth, double life-size aluminium figures of two girls and a boy with a flute, bear witness to the last 70 years of Hungarian history full of turbulent times, during which music and culture in general remained important in young people’s lives and was a key tool for politicians to communicate or promote their ideas, ideologies.
The People’s Stadium (1953) represented the success of the first five-year plan, the Puskás Arena is the symbolic building of the System of National Cooperation. They were both built using public funds; the first dedicated to the people, the second to the nation. These two terms seem similar but they convey different interpretations of us. Singing Youth took popular movement songs from 1945-56 and pop, rock songs from 2010-21 (associated with the regime) as a departure point along with public speeches from those in power to make a collage of text and music dealing with these interpretations. Máté Szigeti’s original music masterfully evokes both time periods; while taking its distance, it offers a commentary on these at the same time. This is enhanced by references to other, temporally and stylistically more distant musical idioms. The process results in familiar, yet not quite familiar melodies that can easily become earworms.
The three figures of Singing Youth are doubled on stage: our world as represented in these songs, come to life through the performance of six young singer-performers.
The Singing Youth and NIKE, the statue of our liberty will be presented as part of a joint evening a double-bill. The Hungarian Acacia – directed by Kristóf Kelemen and Bence Pálinkás - has attracted international attention and has participated in numerous festivals. The duo now presents two separate works, but with many links.
The performance was presented together with NIKE, Statue of Our Liberty (Kristóf Kelemen) -18h30, 15 February 2022 and Waterfields (Balázs/Juhász/Kálmán/Keresztes/Szabó-Székely) – 18h-22h, 21-22 February 2022 as part of our Greek Inclusion Festival (Liberty) in August 2021.
Singing Youth and NIKE, the Statue of Our Liberty - Double Bill - 1 evening 2 performances: if you put tickets for both performances to your cart you can buy them on a discounted price (3400 HUF instead of 4400 HUF). You can purchase tickets on the special price here.
Written and directed by: Judit Böröcz, György Bence Pálinkás, Máté Szigeti
Music by Máté Szigeti
Choir director: Péter Fehérváry
Choreographer: Zsófia Tamara Vadas
Vocalists: Benjamin Bozi, Péter Fehérváry, Maxim Jurin , Katalin Mezei, Eszter Sokhegyi, Máté Szilvay
Light technician: Balázs Szabon
Video: Sári Ember
Photo: Sári Ember, Dániel Pék
Documentation: László Dinea, András Szőnyi
English translation: Anna Bentley
Production: Trafó House of Contemporary Arts
Supporters: Budapest Főváros Önkormányzata, Staféta, Nemzeti Kulturális Alap, FÜGE Produkció, Jurányi Produkciós Közösségi Inkubátorház
The production was realized in the framework of the Staféta program, announced and supported by the Municipality of Budapest.
The performance is created in the framework of the Liberty international partnership with the support of the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.