By Ferenc Kiss (2009)
Alexandra publications  ISBN 978 963 297 070 7
639 pp   (three CD’s included)   80 EUR (USD 120)

Musician and collector Ferenc Kiss’s admiration for the opera house in Budapest where he was born in 1943 and his enjoyment of his collection gave him the idea to revive the past of the house. It is his wish to remember the artists – singers, composers, soloists and conductors – who appeared on the stage of the Hungarian Royal opera house during its first 60 years. The coffee table sized book is luxuriously presented with on the left side a short biography of the artists in question (in Magyar, English and German) while on the right page you can see their photo, in almost every case their autograph together with the dates and the operas in which they appeared on the stage or on the conductor’s pulpit.
Included are more than 300 artists. All, of them are presented chronologically while at the start of the book an alphabetical index is included. The quality of the photographs are excellent and errors of fact in the biographies are not more than a handful which says a lot in a huge enterprise as this book is.
Included are three cd’s with examples of the artists. Most record collectors will have all recordings in the first two cd’s yet CD 3 will offer many novelties as it is restricted to Hungarian artists only not available elsewhere such as David Ney, Mihaly Takats and Gabrielle Relle to name but a few.
At 80 euros the price is not cheap but considering the excellent quality of the production, the three cd’s and the size of the book it’s worth the financial effort and we can only wish a second volume will be written as well.