Open-air theater performances, musicals, dance shows, kids’ programs and several concerts are held every summer (June-July-August) during the Budapest Summer Festival. Programs are offered at two locations, on Margaret Island and in Városmajor. The Margaret Island Open-air Stage, located in the shadow of the historic Art Nouveau water tower, is the only permanent open-air stage in Hungary and can accommodate approximately 3000 people.
In 2013, the Margaret Island Open-air Theater is celebrating its 75th anniversary and the varied repertoire includes programs like Puccini: Madame Butterfly (opera), James Bond 60 (concert show), Carmen Souza Quartet and much more.
Budapest Summer Festival 2013 Highlights
James Bond 60 (concert show) - Jul 19, 2013
In celebration of the Bond character’s 60th birthday and the film series’ 50th anniversary, the Budapest Symphony Orchestra presents a special concert recalling the greatest hits of the Bond films. Conductor: Nic Raine
Puccini: Madame Butterfly (opera) - Jul 26 & 28, 2013
This year's summer opera premiere, Madame Butterfly, features the world-famous soprano Andrea Rost and the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra. Conductor: Domonkos Héja
Carmen Souza (concert) - Aug 2, 2013
As part of their Kachupada Tour, the Carmen Souza Quartet, Europe’s most in-demand jazz singers come to Budapest.
Ferenc Erkel: King Stephen (opera) - Aug 20, 2013
The closing act of the Budapest Summer Festival is dedicated to King Stephen I. 2013 marks the 975th anniversary of his death and 930th anniversary of his canonization. King Stephen, Erkel’s last finished opera, features renowned opera singers. Conductor: Gergely Vajda
The most anticipated performances on the Városmajor Stage are the Roma Hungaricum concert (Aug 11, 2013) and Benkó Dixieland Band's 'Face to Face' concert (Aug 27, 2013).
In 2013, the Budapest Summer Festival also offers various photo exhibitions and a new concert series in the historic water tower, adjacent to the Margaret Island Open-air Stage. Following are some great water tower programs:
Jazzy Tower Concert Series
Balkan Fanatik - Jun 15, 2013
FolkSide - Jul 6, 2013
Majsai Swing Stars - Jul 27, 2013
Budapest Jazz Orchestra - Aug 17, 2013
75 Years – Festive Photo Exhibitions
Margaret Island in Vintage Photographs - Jun 14 to Sep 30
Budapest Positive: 10 Years of the Budapest Photography Grant - Jun 14 to Aug 31
The Classics of Hungarian Photography – photos of the city by well-known photographers, like Demeter Balla, Tamás Féner and Péter Korniss - Sep 1 to Sep 30
In addition, there are thematic sightseeing tours and interactive games, like "Budapest – the city of waters", a sightseeing tour on land and water, and "Budapest prisoner – escape from the Water Tower", a fun program with plenty of puzzles to solve. Registration is available on the spot, or in advance.
Getting to the Margaret Island Open-air Theater
Take Streetcar No. 4 or 6 to Margaret Bridge (the stop is in the middle of the bridge, where it branches off to Margaret Island) then take Bus No. 26 to Szabadtéri Színpad. Or, take a ferry. Ferry service is offered by Mahart between Margaret Island Open-air Theater and Vigadó tér, Batthyányi tér and Dráva utca.
Budapest Summer Festival Hotel Offers
Novotel Budapest Danube, Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget, Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget, Benczúr Hotel and Mercure Budapest Buda all offer special rates that include tickets to a Budapest Summer Festival performance, a theater ferry service and a visit to the historic water tower.
Photos courtesy of szabadter.hu